Gov. DeWine turns down Republican primary debate invite

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, facing a competitive 2022 reelection race, will skip this month’s Republican primary debate, event organizers said Thursday.

The nonpartisan Ohio Debate Commission said DeWine did not give a reason for declining to participate in the March 29 debate, adding that it hopes the governor will reconsider.

DeWine campaign manger Brenton Temple said the governor is always publicly accessible. “Governor DeWine meets with constituents on a daily basis and regularly takes questions from the media,” he said in a statement.

The debate commission said no other candidate has declined its invitation to participate. Other Republicans in the race are former Congressman Jim Renacci, former state lawmaker Rod Hood and Joe Blystone, a central Ohio farmer.

The two Democratic candidates for governor, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and ex-Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, have agreed to debate each other on March 29.