January 20, 2016

Ted Strickland Continues To Run From Debates As Democrats From Other States Agree To Debates

The backlash is continuing for Ted Strickland as he turned down yet another debate invite. But, it appears that Democrats involved in primaries in other states may be learning a lesson from Strickland’s poor strategy, Democratic primary candidates in Illinois and Pennsylvania have agreed to debates. Strickland’s latest debate invite came from The City Club:

And before he turned down the City Club’s invitation, Ohio State Senator Tom Sawyer tried to bring the debate directly to Strickland, proposing to turn an upcoming event at the Akron Press Club into a debate. Guess how Strickland responded?

While Sittenfeld jumped at Sawyer’s idea to hold the debate, Strickland’s campaign rejected a hypothetical debate…

The Plain Dealer editorial board took notice of Strickland’s latest debate denial and let him have it, saying that Strickland doesn’t know the difference between a nomination and a coronation:

You’d think a Democrat, of all people, would know that the words “nomination” and “coronation” don’t mean the same thing. Former Gov. Ted Strickland evidently doesn’t.

And that Strickland doesn’t want Ohio Democrats to know that there are options other than him:

But debates are different. They offer voters a chance to comparison shop — something Strickland’s team clearly doesn’t want.

Why remind rank-and-file Ohio Democrats they have options?

A Senate nomination isn’t something Democratic VIPs in Columbus or Washington — not even a U.S. senator from Big Sandy, Montana (pop. 598) — can present to someone, like a door prize. Only rank-and-file Ohio Democrats, voting in March’s primary, can pick the person whom they want to run against the GOP’s Portman. And that’s why Strickland shuns debates. It might remind Democrats they have choices beyond those made for them by certain party leaders.

The editorial board wrapped up by wondering how someone who can’t even debate his primary opponent is going to be able to fight for Ohio in the U.S. Senate:

Strickland’s refusal to debate raises a practical question. If a candidate fears the give and take of campaign debates, how can that person hope to succeed when sparring on behalf of Ohio in the U.S. Senate? What’s more, shunning debate can easily come across as arrogance – the very last thing voters want in a candidate. And voters, Ohio Democratic voters, not Columbus and Washington insiders, will select the Democrat who’ll take on Rob Portman.

So, while Democrats in other states are learning from Strickland’s disastrous debate strategy, Strickland continues to decline debates and decline giving Ohio voters a clear picture of their options.