Otterbein University readies for Democratic debate spotlight

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WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — The fourth Democratic presidential debate is less than one month away, and all eyes will be on Otterbein University.

The debate will happen at the Rike Center on campus, and students are ready for it.

“The fact they’re coming to Otterbein is pretty cool regardless of whether you’re, like, Republican or Democrat,” said third-year student Adi Tamarapll.

The gym inside the Rike Center is about to go a major transformation to host the debate.

RELATED: Otterbein to host next Democratic Presidential debate

“Normally when you think of them coming to Ohio, you just naturally kind of assume they’d go to Ohio State, you know, because it’s bigger,” said Tamarapll.

The Ohio Democratic Chair said the group had their eyes on a suburban area to host the debate and Westerville got the call.

Most students hope they get a chance to see it in person.

“I mean, I want to go pretty bad,” said third-year student Courtney Bussert. “We don’t have large events like this at Otterbein and it’s really, like, a neat opportunity for us.”

Otterbein students said they will be focused and starstruck.

Some look forward to hear about issues that are important to them right here on campus and want to get a better feel for some of the candidates.

“It’s just a great experience for Otterbein and as students, I mean, we’re all coming to college and we’re forming our own views,” said Bussert. “It kind of just, like, brings light to the issues in our country right now and kind of gets our minds going about what we think about the issues.”

The president of the university, John Comerford, could not agree more.

“We want them having meaningful debates every day in their classrooms, in their residences halls, and on their sports teams, and so to have this on the campus is going to add to that education that’s already going on.” he said.

Comerford explained the planning has been going on for a while, and he’s just excited for the opportunity to represent Ohio. 

“It’s bigger than Otterbein, it’s bigger than Westerville,” said Comerford. “It’s really a big deal for the region and the state.”

The debate is scheduled for Oct. 15, but it could be extended to Oct. 16 if needed.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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