2 Butler County candidates decline to debate opponents

The Miami University Regionals/Journal-News series of debates now will not feature two of the three Statehouse races this fall.

Today, Republican candidate Sara Carruthers announced she will not debate Democratic candidate Susan Vaughn. Both are vying in November for a two-year term representing the 51st Ohio House District.

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Last week, Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, told the Journal-News she would not debate Democratic challenger Rebecca Howard for the 53rd Ohio House District.

Carruthers offered a statement via her campaign manager Todd Fowler.

“With my fathers recent passing and my children back in school on top of running a busy campaign, my calendar is quite challenging,” she wrote.

Her father, Ralph "Pat" Carruthers, died in June at the age of 88.

Vaughn said today she was hoping for the public debate.

“It’s certainly disappointing because I was looking forward to debating the issues,” she said.

Keller previously declined to participate in the debate, telling the Journal-News that her “voting record stands on its own” and she “will once again be taking my campaign directly to the voters.”

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Howard, of Reily Twp., said she was hoping to stand side-by-side with Keller in a debate before the voters. She said she is “disappointed” but looks “forward to having multiple occasions to meet with voters and discuss issues of concern.”

The Miami University Regionals/Journal-News will feature at least two debates this fall between candidates seeking election in November, and possibly a third.

Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., and Kathy Wyenandt, both seeking election to the 52nd Ohio House District, have agreed to debate on Sept. 25 at Miami’s VOA Learning Center in West Chester Twp. The West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance will partner in presenting debate.

Now, the candidates for Butler County Commission — incumbent Commissioner Cindy Carpenter and former Middletown vice mayor Dora Bronston — will also debate as part of this series on Oct. 4.

Democrat Vanessa Enoch has confirmed to debate incumbent Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, whose campaign representatives have told organizers they’re looking to rearrange his schedule so he can participate.

“A key part of Miami’s mission is to promote the public good — and we see this series as doing that, by giving voters the opportunity to come out and learn more about the people who want to lead us at the county, state and federal levels in the years ahead,” said John Forren, chairman of the Miami University Regionals Justice and Community Studies Department.

Miami University is also planning to host a Meet the Candidates night after the debates, where all candidates for office that represent portions of Butler County will be invited to participate, including Ohio’s 7th Senate and 54th House District.

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