Another U.S. Senate debate offer on the table, but still no agreement between campaigns

07/17/2014 02:37 PM

The campaigns of both candidates in the Kentucky U.S. Senate race again expressed interest in having the two share a stage to talk issues after Centre College made a formal proposal Thursday to host a debate. But still, no one debate offer has been accepted by both candidates.

Partnering with AARP and WAVE3 News in Louisville, Centre College announced Thursday that it would like to host a debate between Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Centre College President John Roush held a press conference on the school’s campus, which has hosted two Vice Presidential debates in the past, to discuss the details of the proposed hour-long debate which he is suggesting take place on September 3 in Danville at the school’s Newlin Hall.

Since McConnell challenged Grimes to three debates in May, both candidates have accepted debate proposals from other stations and networks but no single offer has been accepted by both candidates.

Because of the experience Centre College has gained from holding vice presidential debates in 2000 and 2012, Roush said he believes the school is a good place for a debate between the two. And Roush expressed being open to other dates but would prefer the event to be held after Sept. 1 when students will be back on campus.

“We are hopeful that our previous experiences at the ‘center of the political universe’ will inspire confidence in the candidates to consider Centre College as a logical setting in which to discuss their positions on the many pressing issues important to Kentucky and our nation,” Roush said. “Our partners only strengthen the proposal.”

Roush explained the school decided to partner with WAVE3 News because along with airing the debate in Louisville, the station has secured a network of other television stations to carry the debate live in Lexington, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Owensboro, Murray, Paducah and other areas across the state as well as some radio stations.

WAVE3 said in a statement about the announcement that they have made their journalists Scott Reynolds and Shannon Cogan available to moderate the debate.

The campaign of Senator McConnell thanked Centre for their offer and seemed open to the possibility of the debate.

“Sen. McConnell greatly appreciates Centre College’s interest in hosting a debate. Centre has an outstanding reputation for hosting world-class debates and we look forward to reviewing their proposal,” McConnell campaign spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement.

The Grimes campaign also seemed open to the debate proposal in a statement about the announcement. Grimes campaign manager Jonathan Hurst also placed blame on the McConnell campaign for the reasoning the two have not yet hammered out any details on a debate, saying the McConnell campaign has not responded to the letter from Grimes with her debate criteria.

“Our campaign greatly appreciates Centre College’s invitation. We continue to stand ready and committed to debating Mitch McConnell. As we have outlined, we welcome the opportunity to debate in all corners of the Commonwealth and believe all Kentuckians should be able to participate in the process,” Hurst said.

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