2 of 3 Democratic US Senate Candidates Debate

Cleveland Young Professional Senate co-founder ​William Tarter, Jr. (moderator), Kelli Prather, PG Sittenfeld
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Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland was a no show at a debate Monday between the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Republican Rob Portman’s US Senate seat.  ideastream’s Annie Wu reports.

Strickland who’s far ahead in polls, declined the City Club of Cleveland’s invitation to debate his two opponents.   So when Cincinnati city councilman PG Sittenfeld was asked about gun violence, he used the opportunity to pull up an empty chair.

"And if this question was posed to Ted Strickland – what would you do, what have you done about gun violence? -- the answer would be nothing," Sittenfeld said. "Over decades, he has had an A or an A+ rating from the NRA. So I want to be crystal clear.  When I get to the United States Senate, I will be unabashed in standing up to the NRA, and standing up to the gun lobby."

Throughout the hour-long event, Sittenfeld voiced his positions supporting Planned Parenthood, opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and arguing for a pathway to citizenship in immigration reform.  And while Sittenfeld focused his attacks on the absent Strickland, Cincinnati businesswoman Kelli Prather targeted the man sitting beside her.

"All due respect, Councilmember Sittenfeld has worked very hard.  However, he is a jumper," Prather said.  "This is an opportunity for him.  We don’t need a rock star senator.  We need someone who’s been in trenches and understands life from the everyday person’s perspective.  I represent that person."

Prather said she’s been on the front lines as a social justice activist who has personal experience with gun violence, with relying on Planned Parenthood for contraception, and with the public school system.  She supports Obamacare, believes Syrian refugees should be allowed into the US, and wants to see more minority businesses in Ohio.

In a survey last month commissioned by the state party, Prather and Sittenfeld each polled 10% of likely Democratic primary voters.  Ted Strickland – 61%. 


Click here to watch the entire City Club of Cleveland debate with Prather & Sittenfeld.

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