Gray and Paul square off over debate schedule

08/10/2016 02:03 PM

With Fancy Farm in the rear view the U.S. Senate campaigns are gearing up for the final months of the general election and getting in front of voters before Nov. 8, but so far there’s no debates scheduled between the candidates.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray took the offensive against U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, last week, calling out the state’s junior senator for, so far, not accepting any of the proposed debates.

Gray’s campaign said that Paul’s campaign has forced a separation of the candidates at the Aug. 25 Farm Bureau Senate candidates forum. Initially, according to Gray’s campaign and recent tradition, the candidates were scheduled to appear at the event together.

A call to Kentucky Farm Bureau about the change was not immediately returned.

The campaign for Gray also claims that Paul is nearly two months past a deadline to participate in the League of Women Voters debate scheduled for Oct. 30.

The candidates have also been invited to participate in a live televised forum with KET on Oct. 31, which Gray has submitted his qualifications to participate in.

Gray’s team went after Paul in a press release questioning why Paul had avoided booking a shared stage between the two.

“Donald Trump thumped Rand Paul in the Presidential debates and the primary,” said Gray campaign spokesperson Cathy Lindsey. “Now he won’t show up to discuss the issues that are important to the state he represents. Did Trump scare him that badly?”

Paul campaign spokesperson Kelsey Cooper contends that the Bowling Green Republican will debate Gray, but warned the Lexington mayor he would be connected to national Democratic figures.

“We look forward to debating in the Fall, however, Mayor Gray is going to have a tough time explaining his unabashed support for Clinton and Obama, who have promised to put thousands of Kentuckians out of work and destroy our entire coal industry,” Cooper said.

Gray’s campaign spokesperson Cathy Lindsey responded with shade of her own for Paul, and his presidential aspirations.

“Jim is glad to hear that Sen. Paul will attend debates and stop avoiding them,” Lindsey said. “We look forward to talking about Jim’s plans to build a stronger Kentucky and what plans – beyond running for President again – Rand Paul has.”

On Wednesday, the candidates were busy on the trail with Paul making a swing through Georgetown and Florence. Paul has tallied nearly 80 speaking events in the state this year, according to a campaign official.

Meanwhile, Gray was in Fayette Co. on Wednesday morning where he rode school buses and read to kids on their first day back to school.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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