The two candidates left in the Nov. 2 election for Ohio's 9th congressional district - Democrat Marcy Kaptur, the incumbent, and Republican challenger Rich Iott - will face off in two weeks in their first televised debate.
The Blade and WTVG-TV, Channel 13, are conducting the forum from 7 to 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at Bowsher High School.
Diane Larson, co-anchor of 13-ABC Action News, will moderate the debate, and questions will be asked by a panel including Tom Troy, Blade politics writer, and Lee Conklin, Channel 13 news co-anchor.
Tickets will be distributed to the two campaigns and will be available to the public at the door the night of the event, at the Bowsher auditorium, 2200 Arlington Ave. The debate can also be viewed online at www.toledoblade.com and www.13abc.com.
Kaptur campaign manager Josh Thurston said Miss Kaptur will focus on "the fundamentals of jobs and the economy" and welcomes the opportunity to go into more detail on the issues that define the race.
"[Miss] Kaptur looks forward to a substantive discussion about the kitchen-table issues facing families today," Mr. Thurston said. "Marcy thinks debates are important for the voters to see the clear differences between the two candidates on issues such as trade, Social Security, and job creation."
Iott spokesman Matthew Parker said Mr. Iott will contrast his record of "job creation and fiscal responsibility" with Miss Kaptur's "28-year record of tax-and-spend policies that have led us to a $14 trillion national debt and double-digit employment.
"Debates are very important because it will be an opportunity for the voters to hear directly from the candidates and to make an informed decision about the direction of our country," Mr. Parker said.
Kurt Franck, The Blade's executive editor, said that based on the tenor of the campaign so far, the debate promises to be a spirited one.
"The public will get to see firsthand how they perform," Mr. Franck said. "We look forward to a hard-fought debate on the issues."
Miss Kaptur, 64, of Toledo, in her 14th term, serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the senior-most woman in the House.
She is also on the appropriations subcommittees for agriculture, transportation, housing and urban development, and defense.
Miss Kaptur says she has focused on rebuilding the economic might of her district, including securing federal funds for bridge, road, rail, and port facilities, and the new I-280 bridge over the Maumee River.
In her opening campaign television commercial last week, Miss Kaptur attacked Mr. Iott's claims to be a "job creator," citing the demise of the Seaway Food Town chain that was built by his father and which closed in 2003, eliminating 5,000 jobs.
Mr. Iott, 58, was president and chief executive officer of the Seaway Food Town chain when it was sold to Spartan Stores Inc. of Michigan in 2000. He said the deal was supposed to protect Food Town from large competitors but that Spartan made bad business decisions.
He owns or leads several businesses and is a colonel in the volunteer Ohio Military Reserve.
Mr. Iott defeated former Toledo Police Chief Jack Smith in the May 4 primary election for the Republican nomination. Last week, a third-party candidate, Libertarian Joseph Jaffe, withdrew from the race, saying he was backing Mr. Iott.
Mr. Iott has attacked Miss Kaptur's votes for billions of dollars in legislative earmarks that he called "wasteful pork projects," and has disagreed with her votes for health-care reform, economic bailouts, and the cap-and-trade environmental bill.
The Blade is also co-sponsoring debates for gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates, as follows:
• Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and Republican challenger John Kasich will face off Tuesday in Columbus and Oct. 7 in Toledo. The debates are being hosted by the Ohio Newspaper Organization made up of the daily newspapers in Ohio's eight largest cities, including The Blade.
• U.S. Senate candidates Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Lee Fisher will hold three debates hosted by the Ohio Newspaper Organization - Oct. 4 in Toledo, Oct. 8 in Cleveland, and Oct. 12 in Columbus.
Contact Tom Troy at: