Democrat Mark Kelly Limits Debates with GOP’s Martha McSally to Two

Mark Kelly speaking with supporters of U.S. Congressional candidate Hiral Tipirneni at a campaign rally at the Sun City Grand in Sun City, Arizona, on April 23, 2018.
Flickr/Gage Skidmore

The race for the U.S. senate in Arizona will include only two debates between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly, after the latter rejected the GOP request for additional matches.

Two debates are sufficient to let voters know enough about the candidates ahead of the election, a Kelly campaign spokesman told Arizona Republic on Thursday

“We look forward to debating her,” Jacob Peters, Kelly campaign communications director, told the news outlet. “We think these two are going to give folks the chance to know about what Mark’s vision is and ensure they know about McSally’s record.”

The GOP disagrees.

“Mark Kelly doesn’t want to debate because he has no answers for why he introduced Chinese communist investors to his company or why he’s refusing to release his consulting firm’s client list,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez, said. “No matter how carefully the DSCC and Chuck Schumer craft Kelly’s talking points, debates would reveal the truth: the real Mark Kelly is only capable of looking out for himself, not Arizona.”

The Arizona Republic report, a commentary by columnist Laurie Roberts, said voters deserve as much information as possible about candidates, even if the seven requested by McSally could be asking too much:

Two means tackling a wide array of issues in 90 minutes, with choreographed candidates delivering overly rehearsed talking points and no real time to get to real answers. We deserve better, especially in a year in which this race could well decide the future of the Senate.

I’m thinking five debates, starting right after Labor Day: on foreign policy and immigration, the economy, COVID-19 and health care, civil rights and police and a final wrap-up in October.

“I’m thinking Arizonans deserve an opportunity to see not just $100 million of slick attack ads but to see two candidates talking spontaneously and in detail about how they would approach complex issues like health care reform and economic reform,” Roberts said.

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