Gov: Strickland (D) and Blackwell (R) Agree to Four Debates [Updated]
I got an email from the Strickland campaign, indicating that the two camps have agreed to do four debates. Here is the joint statement from the two campaigns:
"The Strickland for Governor and Ohioans for Blackwell campaigns have met three times over the past few weeks in a good faith effort to coordinate gubernatorial debates. Both sides have compromised, and we have agreed upon mutual venues and dates to hold four debates, one each in Youngstown, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.No dates given in the email.
Both campaigns expressly agreed that a Cleveland debate be sponsored by a media consortium including the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch, Dayton Daily News and the Call & Post, an African American-owned newspaper with readership in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.
Both campaigns remain open to accommodation for a Cleveland event if an agreement between the four sponsoring media organizations can be quickly reached.
Hosting organizations for the other three debates agreed to adjustments in venues, dates, topics and formats at the request of the campaigns late last week.
We believe our mutually agreed upon debate structure will help all Ohioans learn more about the candidates and the policy issues facing Ohio."
UPDATE: The back story concerning the language in the joint statement about the campaigns being "open to accommodation for a Cleveland event" is revealed in the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Dayton Daily News, Columbus Dispatch, and Cleveland Plain Dealer approached the campaigns about a debate. The parties made compromises on various logistical matters, including relocating the debate from Columbus to Cleveland and changing the date from November 3 to September 20, but the Blackwell camp then demanded the inclusion of the African-American oriented Call & Post papers as a co-sponsor, apparently now joined by the Strickland camp, and this has become a sticking point. The other papers won't agree to include this new entity as a co-sponsor (the articles relate that the three papers have a history of cosponsoring debates and plans for unspecified future editorial joint projects, and distinguishes the Call & Post as not regularly reporting on state government). It appears that the joint statement by the campaigns was issued in order to put pressure on the three mainline papers in these negotiations, by portraying them as intransigent, while the Plain Dealer article responds by portraying the campaigns as refusing to debate, and in particular reminding readers that Blackwell refused to debate during the primary season.