Raleigh, N.C. — Despite a challenge from Republican Thom Tillis to meet in a series of at least 10 debates across the state this fall, Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's campaign said Wednesday that she would debate Tillis no more than three times before the November election.
Two two have already agreed to meet in two debates hosted by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation, the dates of which haven't been set.
Hagan's campaign said she also would participate in a debate in Wilmington hosted by the League of Women Voters and WECT-TV. The date of that debate also hasn't been set.
"In 2010, the candidates for U.S. Senate, Richard Burr and Elaine Marshall, participated in three debates in the fall – two hosted by the Broadcasters and one hosted by the League of Women Voters. The LWV (event) will also allow the candidates to debate outside of Raleigh," Jim Phillips of Hagan's campaign said in a letter to Tillis' campaign.
Tillis in May said he would participate in debates hosted by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Medical Society and said he hoped Hagan would follow suit. He then suggested a series of debates held in various regions of the state.
On Wednesday, his campaign called for a compromise of at least six debates.
“It’s totally unacceptable that Kay Hagan is participating in only three debates, a cynical effort to limit the opportunities North Carolinians can hear from their Senate candidates," campaign manager Jordan Shaw said in a statement.
Hagan's camp said so many debates would be out of precedent with previous Senate campaigns in North Carolina, adding that Tillis said during the Republican primary battle that he thought three debates would suffice.