Perrysburg, OH – Owens Community College hosted the first debate featuring the candidates for Ohio’s newly competitive Fifth U.S. Congressional District Thursday evening, but Congressman Bob Latta was the only candidate not to appear at the event.
Democratic challenger Angela Zimmann said that Latta’s absence shows he is out of touch and unwilling to engage with Fifth District voters.
“Tonight, Representative Latta made it clear that his concern is not with the hardworking folks of the Fifth District,” Zimmann said. “Rather than spend time discussing the issues that matter to Northwest Ohio families, Latta remains silent on his votes against our auto industry and jobs.”
With an empty podium bearing Congressman Latta’s name, the incumbent Republican’s absence was hard to miss.
Zimmann referred to her opponent as ‘Silent Bob,’ criticizing her opponent for avoiding public discussion of his voting record.
The Latta campaign said Congressman Latta was unable to attend because Owens Community College contacted the campaign too late. However, Owens student government member Joshua Widanka told The Blade that candidates were invited in late March.
The debate, hosted by Owens Community College student government, focused on a variety of issues including the candidates’ plans to lower taxes and spur job growth in the district.
Zimmann was well received by the audience, particularly when she spoke on how the government has no place between a woman, her doctor, and her health care decisions.
Looking forward, Zimmann hopes Congressman Latta will give voters the opportunity to see the candidates face off in future debates.
“Congressman Latta should, at minimum, work for and be accessible to the folks that elected him to office. Voters deserve the chance to see all candidates discuss issues important to this region, including the sitting congressperson,” Zimmann said.
In a letter sent to Congressman Latta, Zimmann challenged her opponent to a series of debates taking place at each of the colleges and universities in Ohio’s Fifth District. Zimmann has already accepted a debate at Ohio Northern University in mid-October, but there is no confirmation that Latta will attend the event.
The letter has been delivered to Representative Latta’s office.Download Press Release