Raleigh, N.C. — Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper have begun laying out their plans to appear at candidate debates and forums for this year's gubernatorial campaign.
Cooper says he has accepted at least four opportunities so far, including two live, televised debates and two forums:
- Candidate Conversations 2016, which will be co-hosted by ExitEvent at American Underground, The Entrepreneurs' Organization and WRAL.com on May 25
- North Carolina Bar Association Candidates Forum on June 24
- Live debate hosted by WRAL News on Oct. 18
- Live debate with the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters that is as yet unscheduled
"I encourage Gov. McCrory to join me for these discussions and look forward to a thoughtful debate on the issues that matter most to North Carolinians," Cooper said in a statement.
Pressing an opponent to accept a particular debate schedule is a frequent tactic that challengers use to score political points. However, it appears the disagreement this year won't be over how many debates to have but who will host and the exact shape they'll take.
"Not including forums, we want at the very least four televised debates," McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said Wednesday. "We will be at the debates hosted by the Bar Association and Broadcasters Association and are currently reviewing other invitations."
Diaz said forums are hosted by a variety of groups and don't always force candidates to spend time together.
"Debates are usually televised, and the candidates share the stage, so Roy Cooper will be forced to show up and actually take a position on the issues," Diaz said.
Cooper's camp says they are still waiting for the governor to formally agree to debates.
"So far, Attorney General Cooper has agreed to participate in four debates and forums," said Ford Porter, a spokesman for the Cooper campaing. "While the governor has said he's willing to debate, he has yet to agree to any. This seems like a good place to start that discussion."