Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Friday's event will be one of few times rivals for 9th Distirct will share stage

The two candidates for the 9th Congressional District race will meet Friday for their first and only debate, carried live by WTVG-TV, Channel 13, in an event co-sponsored by The Blade.

Challenger Samuel Wurzelbacher (R., Springfield Township) will face off with incumbent U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in an hour-long debate starting at 7 p.m. The event will be held at the WTVG-TV’s studios, without an audience.

WTVG news anchor Lee Conklin will moderate; WTVG news anchor Diane Larson, WTVG political report Bill Hormann, and Blade politics reporter Tom Troy each will ask the candidates seven questions. In the format, candidates will have a minute to answer questions and 45 seconds for a rebuttal.

Along with its live broadcast, Channel 13 will stream the debate on its Web site.

Friday’s debate will serve as one of only a handful of times Mr. Wurzelbacher and Miss Kaptur have shared a stage in their campaign. They participated in a candidate forum earlier this month in Lorain held by the Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues & Progress.

Aside from that, the two have rarely come in contact or been forced to respond to each other, in large part because Mr. Wurzelbacher — known as “Joe the Plumber” — has mostly eschewed campaign events, joint appearances, or statements to the media.

Steve Katich, chief of staff for Miss Kaptur, said the debate will be a chance for voters to see the fundamental differences between the two candidates’ views on the role of government.

“I think that for most voters who have been watching this race, this will be their first opportunity to be exposed to Joe, because his schedule has been a little bit more low key,” Mr. Katich said.

Mr. Wurzelbacher did not answer his cell phone Wednesday, and his voicemail was full. He also did not respond to a text message to his cell phone.

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