COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine declined an invitation to debate his fellow Republican gubernatorial candidates at the end of the month.
DeWine, the only candidate thus far to skip the primary election debate scheduled for March 28 and 29 at Central State University, did not provide a reason for his decision to skip the event, according to a news release from the Ohio Debate Commission.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” Ohio Debate Commission Board President Dan Moulthrop said. “We convene these debates to help voters and, frankly, to help campaigns and candidates connect with voters across the state. We would welcome the Governor reconsidering this decision.”
Although DeWine did not provide an explanation as to why he declined the invitation, Brenton Temple, campaign manager for the DeWine-Husted campaign, said that DeWine “is the most publicly accessible Governor in Ohio history.”
“Governor DeWine meets with constituents on a daily basis and regularly takes questions from the media,” Temple said. “Ohioans know where he stands on the issues and that he is fighting and winning for them.”
In a February poll commissioned by NBC4, DeWine emerged as the frontrunner in the Republican gubernatorial race.
DeWine, with the support of 34% of likely voters surveyed, holds a 14-percentage-point lead over Canal Winchester farmer Joe Blystone (20%), former Congressman Jim Renacci (9%) and former state Rep. Ron Hood (<1%). Beating all candidates, however, were undecided voters at 36%.