POV | Senate Candidates Need to Set Debate Dates…Now (8/5/14)
There is no question the citizens of the Commonwealth want to see the two candidates for the U.S. Senate debate each other. Senator McConnell offered the first invitation to debate and he set forth some conditions under which he believes the debate will be most effective. WDRB, in partnership with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association, offered to produce and air the debate. Senator McConnell accepted our invitation. Secretary Grimes did not. Her people said she didn't like his terms and wanted to negotiate new ones. Maybe he knew that when he challenged her.
Ms. Grimes then accepted an invitation to debate on KET. Senator McConnell did not agree primarily because he wants to do a Lincoln-Douglass style debate and he wasn't willing to compromise on that. Maybe she knew that when she challenged him.
Here's the way I see it. Because the incumbent almost always enjoys an awareness advantage, the challenger needs the debate more than the incumbent. Therefore, the incumbent always has more leverage to set the terms of something like this. You know the Golden Rule, right? He who has the gold makes the rules. Ms. Grimes can dictate the rules next time if she should be elected and become an incumbent. Right now, if she wants to win this election, she needs to debate him.
Some are speculating that she doesn't really want a debate because she is not good in ad lib situations. I don't know that I'd go that far, but she does tend to work extensively off a script and has been avoiding talking to the media after her scripted speeches. She needs a debate forum where she can show some verbal aptitude and joust competitively with her opponent. A debate is that forum and WDRB stands ready to host it.
Do you agree that the candidates have an obligation to debate? Call us with your thoughts.