State party chair: Talk that Dayton is a finalist for Democratic presidential debate is ‘speculation’

Credit: Scott Olson

Credit: Scott Olson

A county Democratic Party chair said that Dayton or Youngstown are finalists to host the October presidential primary debates, but the state Democratic Party chairman says that is “idle speculation.”

Mahoning County Democratic Party Chair Joyce Kale-Pesta told television stations in the Youngstown area that the two cities are finalists for the debates set for Oct. 15 and 16.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, who is working on the final details, told the Dayton Daily News and WHIO Sunday morning that the comments are speculation and no finalists have been chosen.

“Speculation is premature and based on rumor,” Pepper said. “The truth is the major media partners have not been confirmed or announced.”

Rumors going around that it’s down to two cities is “idle speculation,” Pepper said.

Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair Mark Owens says if the debate came to Dayton or Youngstown it would make sense.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s one of them,” Owens said Sunday. He said however that he had not heard that Dayton was a finalist.

The next Democratic debate is this week.

The Sept. 12 debate will be in Houston and air on ABC. It is expected to be a lengthy, three-hour debate with 10 candidates.

The candidates in the debate are:

• Former Vice President Joe Biden

• Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

• Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts

• Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey

• Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana

• Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro

• Sen. Kamala Harris of California

• Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

• Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas

• Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

The Ohio debate is likely to be two nights however since billionaire Tom Steyer qualified for the October debate, POLITICO reported today.

He met the requirements of polling at at least 2% in four recent polls and has donations from 130,000 unique donors.

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