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Debates Not A Done Deal: Some Candidates Ducking Underdogs

Not all political debates have the panache of a presidential showdown. Front-runners in congressional and gubernatorial contests across the U.S. are sometimes refusing to debate their underdog challengers.

Empty lecterns and blow-up ducks — for candidates who "duck" debates — sometimes mark these debate refusals, which stretch from Maryland to Oklahoma to California.

In Ohio's closely-watched U.S. Senate primary, former Gov. Ted Strickland says he's too focused on winning the general election against incumbent Republican Rob Portman to debate his Democratic primary challenger.

Last year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich refused to debate the Democrats' gubernatorial nominee — only to mount a full-court press for a spot in the Republican presidential debates.

Advocates say a well-run debate benefits voters — and democracy.


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