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WATCH LIVE: Candidates for Ohio's 11th congressional district seat meet for virtual debate

The event is being hosted by the East Cleveland Public Library, but neither of the two front runners showed up for the event.

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — *EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous story

Several candidates for the open seat in Ohio's 11th congressional district will meet for a debate Saturday to discuss issues facing the community and their plans for combatting those issues.

"The Great Debate" is being hosted by the East Cleveland Public Library and will be "Presidential election style." In-person attendance will be limited, but the event will be streamed on the library's Facebook and YouTube pages.

Fox 8's Wayne Dawson, East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King, and East Cleveland City Council President Korean Stevenson will all serve as moderators. You an watch the debate live in the player below starting at 2 p.m.:

The 11th district has been without a representative in Congress since the resignation of longtime Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, who in March was confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Due to delays in getting her nomination through the Senate, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the special election primary to replace her would not take place until Aug. 3, with the general election to follow on May 2.

The district has been solidly Democratic for decades, with the winner of that party's primary seemingly assured of being elected to the House of Representatives. Big-name Democrats currently vying for the nod include:

  • Former State Rep. John E. Barnes Jr.
  • Cuyahoga County Councilwoman and Democratic Party Chair Shontel Brown
  • Former State Sen. Jeff Johnson
  • Former State Sen. Shirley Smith
  • Former State Sen. Nina Turner

Of those candidates, Brown and Turner are considered the frontrunners, but neither showed up. Brown was not there due to a "schedule conflict," but did send surrogate Jasmine Lattery in her place to represent her. It is not known why Turner, who currently has a decisive lead in both endorsements and fundraising, did not show up.

Other Democratic candidates in attendance were author James Jerome Bell, preacher Pamela Pinkney, Lateek Shabaaz, and U.S. Navy veteran Tariq Shabaaz. Neither of the two Republican candidates, 2020 11th district GOP nominee Laverne Gore and former Statehouse candidate Felicia Washington Ross, were on the stage.