Ohio Governor Candidates Prepare For First Debate.

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The first big debate in the 2010 campaign season is Tuesday, when the candidates for governor will meet face to face. But with so many ways candidates can reach voters, are debates relevant anymore? Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler explores that question.

Candidates can reach out to supporters through-out the year.through their websites, through facebook and twitter. David Leland is the former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. He says even with all this opportunity, debates are still important.

“But this is an important way also for people to see the candidates next to each other, see them in an unscripted, an unproduced environment.” Says Leland.

And, Republican operative Mark Weaver says candidates should agree to debates in big races.

“Or they risk being pilloried by the news media and others for not being willing to discuss the issues.” Says Weaver.

But, political scientist, Justin Buchler at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says there may not be a whole lot of new ground broken during debates which he says are risky for candidates.

“Most debate performances are not off the cuff. Most of them are stump speeches condensed into soundbites to fit the debate format.”

But Buchler admits he hopes the debate tradition isn’t eventually lost to history and technology.

Karen Kasler Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau