Press Release From The Bruce Lunsford Campaign
The League of Women Voters of Kentucky (LWVKY) regrets to announce that it will not be able to sponsor a debate this fall between the two major candidates for the U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky because it could not secure a commitment from one of the candidates.
LWVKY President Teena Halbig said Senator McConnell, the Republican candidate, had his campaign notify the League recently that he would not participate in a televised debate sponsored by the League. The other candidate’s campaign for Bruce Lunsford, Democrat, is willing to participate.
The League had invited both candidates to participate in a debate to be produced in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Kentucky Broadcasters Association that brings media from throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The debate would have been a joint event where all Kentuckians could view the candidates on free television, listen on many radio affiliates and read about in newspapers. The forum was planned for Oct. 7 when the broadcast would be made available statewide; however, the McConnell campaign declined to have Senator McConnell participate. When asked if another date would be better, the campaign spokesperson said, “We are just not interested.”
"We're very disappointed that we could not get both major senatorial candidates to agree to participate in a debate this year," Halbig said. "We believe that televised debates are one of the most effective ways for voters to learn about the candidates and their positions. Exposing voters to a rigorous debate of the critical issues facing this nation today is a cornerstone of the democratic election process in America,” said President Halbig. “It is regrettable that Senator McConnell has chosen to deny Kentuckians that opportunity by declining this statewide broadcast opportunity.”
The League of Women Voters of Kentucky has a history of sponsoring televised debates among major candidates for statewide office in Kentucky. In 2007, we sponsored the Primary and General Governor’s Election Forum between then Governor Ernie Fletcher and current Governor Steven Beshear. The televised feed was broadcast statewide by several television stations, 26 radio stations and several major newspapers.
Halbig said that the League issued the invitation in July when the candidates were certified and had asked the candidates to respond. We felt we gave adequate time to plan the debate with its sponsoring partners. She said that Senator McConnell’s campaign notified the organization that they would only participate in four debates. The first forum for the candidates in this race just had 150 persons in the audience.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. With more than 88 years of experience the League is one of America’s most trusted grassroots organizations