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Published: Wednesday, 9/1/2010

Toledo to host one of three debates between Senate candidates


Toledo is one of three Ohio cities selected for televised debates hosted by the state's eight largest newspapers, featuring the two major-party candidates for U.S. Senate.

Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Lee Fisher, who are facing off on the Nov. 2 ballot, will debate in Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus, the campaigns announced Wednesday morning.

The Toledo and Columbus debates have not been set but the Cleveland debate will be held Oct. 8 at the City Club of Cleveland.

The one-hour debates will be televised by the local TV partners of three of the eight newspapers sponsoring the debates, as well as by ONN, the statewide cable news network. The debates in Toledo and Columbus will be studio debates, without a studio audience present. The City Club debate will be held before a public audience, as is tradition.

The campaigns accepted the proposal from the newspapers that a panel of four newspaper reporters pose questions at each debate, and that the debates be moderated by a journalist affiliated with one of the partnering TV stations.

"We are thrilled that Toledo was one of the locations selected for the debates because often, northwest Ohio is an afterthought," said Kurt Franck, executive editor of The Blade, one of the sponsoring newspapers of the debates. "This way, area residents will get to see the candidates firsthand and see what their agendas will be if elected to the U.S. Senate."

The other sponsoring newspapers, all members of the Ohio Newspaper Organization, are: The Repository in Canton, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, The Dispatch of Columbus, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Dayton Daily News, Akron Beacon Journal, and The Vindicator of Youngstown.

The newspaper organization also will host two debates for the major-party candidates for governor.

Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, and Republican John Kasich, a former congressman, will debate Sept. 14 in Columbus at COSI and Oct. 7 in Toledo at the Driscoll Alumni Center at the University of Toledo. The Toledo debate will be broadcast live on WTOL, Channel 11.

While the one-hour debates are closed, requiring a ticket for admission, audiences will be present.

The same format will be used for the gubernatorial debates as is being used in the senate debates.

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