Election 2020: ‘It’s important for voters to hear directly from the candidates'

Miami U., Journal-News to sponsor a series of virtual election forums.

Credit: pROVIDED

Credit: pROVIDED

The Democratic candidate for the 53rd Ohio House Seat has issued a debate challenge to her Republican opponent to highlight “the importance of providing transparency to all voters” in light of the alleged Statehouse bribery scandal, she said.

The 53rd House District seat is one of three open Ohio General Assembly seats in Butler County up for election on Nov. 3. Ohio Rep. Candice Keller bypassed seeking re-election and lost the GOP nomination bid for the state Senate. Middletown School Board member Michelle Novak was uncontested in Democratic primary while Madison Twp. Trustee Thomas Hall bested two opponents for the GOP nomination.

“All Ohioans have a right to be well informed when they vote for the person who will represent them,” Novak wrote in a letter to Hall. “Not only is it important to know where candidates stand on issues, but voters must also know something about the integrity of their candidates.”

Hall said he welcomes a forum or debate with Novak but wants “the safety of the people attending to be a number one priority.”

Novak’s challenge to Hall is for a public debate, and her letter eluded to an in-person debate. However, she told the Journal-News while she wouldn’t mind having a handful of socially distanced people in attendance, it “would have to be streamed.”

“This is new for all campaigns and we need to find ways to allow our constituents to get information and consider their options,” Novak said.

Miami University and the Journal-News are sponsoring a series of virtual forums featuring the 53rd Ohio House race and other contested races in November, including the 8th Ohio Congressional District, the 4th Ohio Senate District, and the 52nd and 54th Ohio House districts.

Miami University political science professor John Forren said this is an important election year and “it’s important for voters to hear directly from the candidates.”

“Beyond having the presidency on the ballot and lots of state and local offices well, the country’s facing really unprecedented challenges and we are in a place where serious policy issues will have to be decided, both in terms of public health and in terms of the economy, and the role of government,” said Forren.

Invitations for the Miami University/Journal-News virtual forum will be mailed today to the candidate campaigns, Forren said.

A virtual meet the candidates night for the remaining uncontested races, including judicial and the 51st Ohio House District, is being planned for October.


Here are the candidates in the races for offices that represent all or parts of Butler County at either the federal or state levels:

8th Ohio Congressional: Warren Davidson (i), Vanessa Enoch

4th Ohio Senate: George Lang, Kathy Wyenandt

52nd Ohio House: Jennifer Gross, Chuck Horn

53rd Ohio House: Thomas Hall, Michelle Novak

54th Ohio House: Morgan Showen, Paul Zeltwanger (i)

NOTE: (i) denotes incumbent


Sept. 18: Military and overseas absentee voting begins

Oct. 5: Voter registration deadline. Ohioans can register online or until 9 p.m. at their county board of elections office

Oct. 6: Absentee voting and in-office early voting can begin.

Oct. 24-25: First of two weekends for in-office early voting at boards of elections

Oct. 31-Nov. 1: Second of two weekends for in-office early voting at boards of elections

Nov. 2: Last day for in-office early voting, all absentee ballots must be postmarked by this date. Last day for military and overseas absentee voting

Nov. 3: Election Day. Polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and absentee ballots may be hand-delivered to the elections office by 7:30 p.m.

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