Ohio to host October presidential primary debate

The Democrats will hold their October presidential debate in Ohio, the state party announced Saturday.

The debate will be held Oct. 15 and, if needed, Oct. 16, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said. The city is not being announced at this time, Pepper said.

The large Democratic field narrowed to 20 candidates this week. Only 10 qualified for the Democratic National Committee’s third primary debate, on Sept. 12 in Houston.

Those 10 will qualify for the October debate in Ohio. If more candidates qualify by the Oct. 1 deadline, the debate could stretch into two nights. 

To qualify, candidates must get at least 2% in four state or national polls approved by the DNC and receive contributions from at least 130,000 donors among at least 20 states.

Former President Barack Obama won Ohio twice. But Donald Trump won Ohio in 2016 by 8 points and Republicans swept all but one statewide partisan office in 2018, prompting politicos to debate whether Ohio has lost its perennial battleground state status.

Pepper, who has argued Ohio is very much in play, points to polls showing 43 percent approval for the president among Ohio voters and Trump’s approval rating has slipped since January 2017.

“As is happening across the nation, Democrats are energized, formerly Republican suburbs are trending blue and voters across the state are waking up to Donald Trump’s many broken promises,” Pepper said in a news release. 

The following candidates will appear onstage in September and are also qualified for the Ohio debate: 

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro
  • Sen. Kamala Harris of California
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Andrew Yang, entrepreneur

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