COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) — The Ohio Debate Commission announced Wednesday that Gov. Mike DeWine and J.D. Vance, the Republican candidate for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat, declined to participate in the Ohio Debate Commission’s general election debates.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, however, the first-term governor did not rule out participating in separate debates coordinated by Nexstar Media Group and the Columbus Metropolitan Club. He said he expects to consider other debates early next month.

DeWine said he and his Democratic opponent, former Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, are “already committed to several joint appearances” before editorial boards that will likely be broadcast online.

“It’s not like we’re not meeting. It’s not like we’re not going head-to-head. We’ve already committed to that,” DeWine said. “The question is: ‘How many of these are you going to do?’ We have not decided yet, frankly.”

The commission’s general election debate for the races was planned for October 10 and 12 at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, however, both candidates did not RSVP by the deadline of Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Ohio Debate Commission said.

Both Democratic party nominees, gubernatorial candidate Whaley and U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan accepted the invitation.

The commission said it will not hold any “empty chair” or “empty podium” debates with only one candidate.