Candidate wants more faceoffs in contested governor's race

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Democratic candidate for Ohio governor wants more debates in the tightly contested race, while his Republican rival said three was enough.

Richard Cordray and Republican rival Mike DeWine had their last scheduled debate Monday night in Cleveland. After talking with people in the Sugar n' Spice Restaurant in Cincinnati, Cordray said he wants to debate again.

"We have a whole month," Cordray said Tuesday. "We can have more."

He cited Toledo and Cincinnati as possible sites for another debate. He and DeWine have also squared off in Dayton and Marietta.

DeWine said the two campaigns had lengthy negotiations about their debate schedule. And while he thought the debates "have been a lot of fun," he said it's time to be meeting with voters.

"It's time to go out and talk to people directly, and listen to the people of this state," DeWine said in a statement.

The matchup between Cordray, former President Barack Obama's federal consumer protection chief, and Ohio's GOP attorney general is one of the nation's most expensive, closely watched governor's races. Republican Gov. John Kasich is vacating the job due to term limits.

DeWine narrowly ousted Cordray in the 2010 attorney general election and polls have indicated they are in another close race with early voting beginning Wednesday for the Nov. 6 election.

In their Cleveland debate, DeWine, a former U.S. senator, described himself as a pragmatic problem-solver who's worked with Democrats, Republicans and independents.

"And the way I've done it is to bring people together," DeWine said.

Cordray said DeWine should have used the power of his office more effectively to protect consumers and to better train police.

The candidates have recently clashed on Issue 1, a November ballot issue aimed at reforming Ohio's drug laws by reducing the state's prison population and making millions of new dollars available for drug treatment. Cordray supports the measure, while DeWine and other critics say it would open the door to drug traffickers and ruin the state's successful drug courts.

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Associated Press writer Julie Carr Smyth contributed in Cleveland.