Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald proposed 11 debates with Gov. John Kasich this morning in an apparent attempt to put the incumbent on the defensive.
In a morning news release, FitzGerald said he has “accepted” six invitations from potential debate hosts to debate Kasich and is proposing an additional five. But the release was sent out minutes after FitzGerald campaign manager Nick Buis first contacted Kasich campaign manager Matt Carle to begin debate negotiations.
“I called to notify them (that) we’re accepting debates and would like to set up formal negotiations,” Buis told The Dispatch. “I would characterize it as a courtesy call.”
Kasich and then-Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland debated twice in 2010. FitzGerald said he has accepted debate invitations for two events in Columbus (one hosted by the AARP and Ohio NBC affiliates; the other by the League of Women Voters and WSYX-Channel 6); and single debates in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Zanesville and Sandusky.
FitzGerald proposed additional debates in Youngstown, Dayton, Lima, Toledo, and Marietta. The Democrat’s news release says “dates will be finalized following discussions with the Kasich campaign” and compares the proposed widespread debate schedule to Kasich’s moving of the State of the State address the past three years.
“We will not be doing our debate negotiations through the media,” said Connie Wehrkamp, a spokeswoman for Kasich’s campaign.
The Kasich-Strickland debates were in Columbus and Toledo.