Democratic candidates highlight strengths in first gubernatorial debate

Democratic candidates highlight strengths in first gubernatorial debate (WKEF/WRGT)

MARTINS FERRY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Democrats wanting to be Ohio’s next governor debated for the first time Tuesday night in Martins Ferry.

One of the candidates is Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who is looking to gain statewide support.

She and three other candidates took to the stage to make their case to voters by positioning democrats as the jobs party.

Mayor Whaley is the only city politician running, and she’s promising to attack the opioid crisis, State Senator Joe Shiavoni touted his legislative efforts, former State Rep. Connie Pillich is pushing for education reform and former Congresswoman Betty Sutton said she wants to create a labor department.

John Corrigan is a retired steel worker, and he isn’t sold on anyone yet.

"This won't convince me, because there are other candidates out there lying dormant right now," Corrigan said.

One possibility is talk show host Jerry Springer, but for now he's not running. Voters like Taylor abbot are focusing on the current options.

"Certain candidates stand out more than others and they get to shine at events like this," abbot said.

Whether its jobs, education or the opioid crisis, all four candidates for governor have months to win voters, hoping to turn Martins Ferry and other cities blue.

The gubernatorial primary is May 8, and Democrats said they are trying to debate in every region of the state.

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