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GOP Ohio Senate candidate Melissa Ackison agrees to debate, Bill Reineke ‘not so sure’

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Marysville businesswoman and conservative activist Melissa Ackison says she’s ready to debate her opponent, State Rep. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin), in the 26th district Ohio Senate race… But he’s “not so sure,” TiffinOhio.net News has learned.

Ackison and Reineke are facing off in the Republican primary for the 26th district senate seat. The seat, currently held by Dave Burke (R-Marysville), represents Seneca, Sandusky, Morrow, Marion, Union, Crawford, and Wyandot counties.

“Why are you hiding from voters? Why won’t you agree to debate Melissa Ackison? Over the past 3 weeks numerous attempts have been made to try to contact you and your campaign,” Ackison campaign manager Gary Gates recently asked Reineke on Facebook.

“Melissa Ackison is trying to give the voters what they deserve from someone seeking their vote into office. If you won’t respond to our private requests maybe you will respond to the public’s demands. The people deserve to see you defend your stances and platform in a civil discussion as someone seeking an office to represent them in the General Assembly,” Gates said.

Multiple media outlets in the district have agreed to host a debate between Reineke and Ackison.

According to Gates, Reineke’s campaign manager, Caleb Stidham, told him privately that Reineke would agree to set up a primary debate.

“We definitely want to see a debate. We can’t vote without information on candidates,” local voter Lori Poignon-Wolph said in response to Gates’ comments.

Reineke refusing to debate Ackison wouldn’t be a shocking development. When he ran for re-election to the Ohio House in 2018, he outright refused to debate his Democratic challenger, Rachel Crooks, of Tiffin.

“God knows he’s going to have to invest in notecards because he can’t formulate a decent thought on his own, unless his goons tell him what to say,” Ackison previously said of Reineke. “See you on the debate stage Scrooge McDuck!”

The primary election will take place in March 2020.

Attempts to reach Bill Reineke’s campaign for comment were unsuccessful.

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