Democratic governor candidates debate in Middletown

Candidates debating in Middletown as part of Journal-News, WLWT debate

Guns and marijuana were among the key issues Tuesday night as four of the Democrats running for governor faced off in their final debate before the May 8 primary.

RELATED: Photos from the debate

The debate was sponsored by the Butler County Journal-News and WLWT-TV. The debate is hosted by Miami University Regionals at its Middletown campus.

ExploreRELATED: Ohio governor candidates head to Middletown for debate

The Democrats running for governor are former federal consumer protection chief and former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray; former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich; former Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill; and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni.

ExploreVOTERS GUIDE: Compare the candidates on the issues

Cordray, former federal consumer protection chief, tried to establish himself as the most experienced candidate, having won two statewide elections as treasurer and attorney general.

Cordray said the next governor has to “stand proudly on progressive issues,” including moving forward on workforce development and small-business support.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice  O’Neill focused a lot of attention during the debate on legalizing marijuana and reopening mental health hospitals.

O’Neill made one of the biggest mistakes of the night’s when he didn’t know about the Brent Spence Bridge project which carries Interstates 75 and 71 over the Ohio River in Cincinnati.

“I don’t know about your bridge,” he said.

Kucinich, a former Cleveland congressman and mayor, said the state needs to focus on rebuilding infrastructure and health care for all.

Kucinich also said while he disagrees with President Donald Trump on most things, he agrees with him on trade issues such as getting out of NAFTA.

Kucinich also bragged about his F rating with the National Rifle Association.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Schiavoni said he would back a bill banning assault weapons if he became governor.

Schaivoni, the youngest of the candidates, said he was tired of Democrats putting up the same candidates.

“We need a candidate who is fresh, passionate,” he said.

On the Republican side, Attorney General Mike DeWine is seeking his party’s nomination against Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who has criticized the former U.S. senator for ducking debates.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The two did talk to reporters at Miami last week and the video from that discussion will be released Wednesday.

Miami University’s Middletown campus will host the hourlong debate Tuesday evening.

Early voting for the election started April 10.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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