Betty Sutton and Jim Renacci are vying in one of the most closely watched U.S. House races in the country. The campaign involves two incumbents, thrown together in the wake of redistricting. Together, they reflect the polarized state of Capitol Hill, Sutton, a proud liberal Democrat, Renacci, a first-term Republican, his victory coming in the season of the tea party.

Each talks a good game about the need for the parties to work together on big matters, and yet, with September approaching, the race already in a high gear, they have yet to agree on a debate within the boundaries of the new 16th District.

Oh, they will meet at the Cleveland City Club on Oct. 10. More, each will spend a separate hour on Oct. 6 with the district residents gathered by Jefferson Action. One or, better yet, a series of debates within the district? So far, both sides have featured much posturing, and some possible venues. What they havenít done is find agreement.

They owe voters something better than a stalemate that resembles a Congress flirting with a favorable rating of less than 10 percent. Each is quick to point the finger at the other side stalling, or seeking to stack the deck. Címon.

The importance of the race is plain. Each candidate promotes a clear and crucial choice. Well, do voters a favor. Set up a series of debates, free-wheeling and substantial. Do something that breaks from the tiresome mold.