Grimes sends open letter to respond to McConnell debate challeng - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Grimes sends open letter to respond to McConnell debate challenge

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic nominee running against Mitch McConnell for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat, has responded to McConnell's request for debates.

The day after the Kentucky primaries, Sen. McConnell wrote a letter to Grimes, challenging her to a series of three "Lincoln-Douglas style" debates in which the two would ask questions of each other, and a moderator would keep time. No audience would be present at the debates.

WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb has offered to broadcast the debates on WDRB.

On Thursday, Grimes responded to McConnell's challenge with an open letter. The text of that letter is below:

Dear Senator McConnell:

Congratulations on your victory in the Republican Senate primary. The November General Election is about the people of Kentucky, and as I've stated previously, I believe we should have a series of open debates to ensure that Kentuckians have a full opportunity to hear our viewpoints and understand the real differences in our visions for the future of this state. The people of Kentucky deserve no less.

I was happy to read that you agree with me, and am hopeful that we can agree to a series of debates. However, there are a few criteria for these debates where we disagree. You mentioned that you do not want an audience at the debates. I believe, however, that Kentucky's U.S. Senate seats do not belong to any one politician, but to the people of the Commonwealth. As such, I believe we should welcome as many Kentuckians as possible who want to see firsthand the real differences in our visions for the Commonwealth. Our debates also should not be 90-minute filibuster sessions; Kentuckians have had enough of that -- they deserve the chance to participate and ask questions.

In order to maintain the integrity of these debates, it is important that none of the debate hosts or moderators has endorsed either candidate or served as a surrogate for either campaign. In addition, I agree that props must not be allowed.

You have also stated that all debates should take place before Labor Day. While I agree that our debates should begin, I do not agree that none should take place in the fall. In the two months leading up to the election, there is no more important time for the people of Kentucky to understand what's at stake.

With these criteria in mind, I have accepted the KET debate invitation -- an invitation you have accepted in previous campaigns -- and I hope you will join me. We should also look at opportunities to hold additional debates in different regions of the Commonwealth. For instance, I have received an invitation from Edmund Shelby to participate in a debate in Beattyville, Kentucky.

It is my hope that this U.S. Senate race will be respectful and uncluttered, so I further call on you to sign a "People's Pledge" to ask all outside groups to cease spending in the Commonwealth and allow the campaigns to deliver their messages to Kentuckians unvarnished. I would, of course, take similar action.

My campaign stands ready to debate, and I look forward to the opportunity.

I understand our campaign managers, Jonathan Hurst and Jesse Benton, have traded voicemails regarding these invitations. it is my hope that they connect as soon as possible so that our campaigns can work through the details and agree to a debate schedule that works for the people of Kentucky.

Sincerely,

Alison Lundergan Grimes

On Thursday afternoon, WDRB President and General Manager Bill Lamb explained that WDRB is already committed to an impartial debate on June 21 between McConnell and Grimes. The June debate is in partnership with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association.

"Mrs. Grimes expressed an interest in appearing on a debate on KET," Lamb said. "She feels – rightfully so – that KET's audience has a right to watch the debates. So do I. That's why the debate we would host on June 21 will be open to any radio and television stations – including KET – to broadcast live. The debate would not only appear on KET – as Grimes desires – but on any TV or Radio station in the viewing area that wanted to show it. That’s not a commitment KET has been willing to make. Why not make the political process open to as many Kentuckians as possible?"

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