DAYTON, Ohio -- Ohio's major-party governor candidates kicked off their first debate Wednesday night with pointed attacks involving the state's opioid crisis an abortion bill.
Democrat Richard Cordray, the former federal consumer watchdog, said rival Republican Mike DeWine has failed to adequately tackle the deadly painkiller epidemic during two terms as the state's attorney general. He told the debate audience at the University of Dayton that allowing DeWine to oversee the crisis would be like "asking for navigation advice from the captain of the Titanic."
DeWine said Cordray has a "track record of failure." He said Cordray embraces a statewide ballot issue reducing drug-related criminal penalties that's "dangerous." He called the position "totally outrageous."
Democrat Richard Cordray said he would veto a so-called heartbeat abortion bill if elected Ohio governor, while his opponent, DeWine, said he would sign the stringent restriction on the procedure.
Their positions on the abortion issue were among stark contrasts the two drew.
The two also differ on Issue 1, a statewide ballot item that calls for reducing criminal sentences for non-violent drug offenses.
DeWine opposes it. He said loosening the penalties will open the door to drug dealers. Cordray supports the issue. He said too many Ohioans are in prison for such offenses and there are more humane, productive and cost-effective solutions for drug offenders.
The candidates seek to succeed Republican Gov. John Kasich, who's term-limited. It's one of the year's closely watched governor's races.