COLUMBUS (AP) - Half of the candidates for governor in Ohio are women, but their chances of victory are looking far less than 50-50.

During Labor Day weekend, two seemingly more electable Democratic men drew attention away from three women seeking the party's nomination: former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and former state Rep. Connie Pillich.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Then on Tuesday, Republicans' lone female candidate, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, held a debate by herself. Two leading male contenders declined to participate.

Experts disagree over how influential gender is in the race for Ohio's top office a year after Hillary Clinton became the first female major-party presidential nominee.

But with men dominating front-runner predictions on both sides, female candidates' backers are working harder than ever to get their messages across.