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Ohio election regulators to hear Libertarians' debate claims

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AP Statehouse Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Libertarian Party of Ohio contends it was unfairly excluded from a fledgling debate series in Ohio's 2018 governor's race, and is scheduled to air its claims before state election regulators.

The Ohio Elections Commission is hearing the third party's case Thursday. Commissioners must decide whether three face-offs the new Ohio Debate Commission arranged this year between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray constituted improper corporate contributions by the debate sponsors.

Libertarians allege The City Club of Cleveland, through its "alter-ego" the debate commission, the University of Dayton and Marietta College, violated state election law by effectively donating DeWine and Cordray valuable exposure unavailable to third-party candidates.

The campaigns and sponsors dispute Libertarians' reading of Ohio law. They've asked the commission to dismiss the complaint.

DeWine won the governor's race.

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