Today the McSally for Senate issued the following update on the status of Senate debates:
Since issuing the debate challenge 21 days ago, the Kelly campaign has made clear the primary goal is to avoid giving any straight policy answers to the people of Arizona before early voting begins. Despite her busy Senate schedule, Martha McSally has been flexible and offered several options for dates that would precede early voting. Conversely, Mark Kelly rejected all dates that would require him to debate before voting begins, now asking to push the first debate to October 12, despite the fact that he has no other job besides running for Senate.
After we issued a challenge, our campaign was contacted by nearly a dozen local outlets clamoring to host a debate. We continue to implore Mark Kelly to stop ignoring Arizona voters and give them an opportunity to hear directly from both candidates side-by-side.
What we accepted
At the beginning of the year, a consortium of Arizona media outlets proposed to both campaigns a series of three debates on September 22, September 29, and October 6. The organizations that proposed the series of debates were The Arizona Republic, Arizona PBS and The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, KJZZ, and Arizona Public Media. The McSally campaign accepted all three proposed debates.
Earlier this month, CNN invited both campaigns to a nationally televised debate. The McSally campaign has accepted that debate invitation, while the Kelly campaign has still refused to respond to the invitation.
The Kelly campaign has mentioned that they have accepted an additional debate hosted by Univision. While the McSally for Senate has received no such invitation, we are more than happy to accept this additional debate should an invitation be issued.
What we challenged
On August 5, the McSally for Senate campaign challenged the Mark Kelly campaign to 7 debates. This challenge included the three debates proposed by the consortium of Arizona media outlets, as well as three rural-based debates and a nationally televised debate.
Timing: The people of Arizona deserve to see the candidates face-to-face on the debate stage before early voting begins.
Locations: Arizonans deserve to see candidates face-to-face multiple times and in rural communities.
Number: Due to the unprecedented challenges posed to traditional campaigning by the coronavirus pandemic, voters need extra opportunities to see candidates face-to-face to compare the complex policy positions that most affect their everyday lives. This means meeting for multiple debates, in different counties, with different host organizations.