Wed. 8:02 p.m.: Area residents heading to Cleveland for GOP debate

COMING THURSDAY: Paul A. Sracic compared Thursday’s Republican presidential candidate debate to preseason football.

The chairman of the political science department at Youngstown State University said, “In training camp, coaches say, ‘They look good. Let’s see how they look when the pads go on.'”

The 10 Republican candidates with the highest polling numbers will be on stage at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, and a large local contingent will be in audience for the event.

Randy Law, chairman of the Trumbull County Republican Party, said he expects at least 150 area Republicans will be in the arena and many more will be watching the live broadcast on FOX News Channel starting at 9 p.m.

“It’s exciting. It all begins in Cleveland and ends in Cleveland next year with the (Republican National) Convention,” Law said. “There are a number of candidates that I really like. I haven’t committed to anyone as of today. I’m just taking a look and seeing how it shakes out. It’s a process. You have to prove you have the ideas. You also have to have the stuff to get people to vote for you.”

The Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber will take a group of about 35 local business leaders to the debate and a reception in Cleveland.

Guy Coviello, vice president of government affairs and media for the chamber, said, “We view this as a very unique economic development opportunity for the Valley. At our pre-debate reception, we will have access to business investors and journalists and government officials, all from outside of Ohio, and we’re asking the business representatives we’re taking to be great ambassadors for Youngstown and Warren and really take advantage of this to showcase what we’re all about.”

Realtor John Burgan, who has offices in Liberty and Boardman, said he responded within seconds to the offer from the chamber to attend the debate.

“We just need to get a clearer idea how the field is going to melt down,” Burgan said. “There’s just too many running. This will go a long way toward filtering out those who don’t really have a chance.”

Read more about the debate and who’s going in the Thursday Tribune Chronicle.