Democrats cite differences in final Ohio governor's debate

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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP/WSAZ) -- Democrats battling for their party's nomination in the race for Ohio governor are emphasizing their differences ahead of the May 8 primary.

Four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination squared off in a final debate before the primary.

The debate was held in Middletown, Ohio.

Two of the topics focused on during the debate were guns and marijuana.

Former federal consumer protection chief Richard Cordray is pointing to his experience including winning two statewide elections; while former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich says he can take Ohio in a new direction.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill is calling for legalizing marijuana; while state Sen. Joe Schiavoni says he'll be a fighter for the people.

All four of the candidates were asked about their stance on gun control legislation during the debate.

"We need to reduce the gun violence in America," said Ricard Cordray. "As a parent of twin teengers, I see that and feel that as much as anyone in our society. That's why we have proposed the strongest and most comprehensive plan to reduce the gun violence in society today."

"The second amendment gives the right to own the weapons, but the second amendment also gives the right to the rest of us for reasonable regulations," said William O'Neill. "I've said repeatedly more background checks and more directly, if you want to own an assault weapon in Ohio then you're going to have to take it down in my opinion to your local chief of police once a year and register it."

"We have to shore up these gun show loopholes," said Sen. Joe Schiavoni. "We have to make sure that mental health is a part of the background check. We have to make kids feel safe in school again."

"You asked about assault weapons," said Dennis Kucinich. "My running mate Tara Samples and I are leading the way in Ohio to an assault weapons ban. There is no other candidate on this stage that is willing to say that."

The front-runners on the Republican side of the race are Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor.

All of the candidates are looking to replace current Republican Governor John Kasich.

The primary election is May 8.

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