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Thom Tillis Debates Empty Chair After Kay Hagan Declines Debate Invitation

Thom Tillis Debates Empty Chair After Kay Hagan Declines Debate Invitation

Amid ongoing questions about her family’s apparent stimulus benefits, numerous Armed Services Committee hearing absences, and Ebola flip-flops, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) did not show up at the fourth and final debate in the U.S. Senate race Tuesday evening. 

With Hagan absent and nothing but an empty chair to face her opponent, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis spent an hour taking questions from two local reporters and voters. 

The debate amounted to more of a long-form interview, which revisited many of the issues Tillis and Hagan have already discussed from the minimum wage to Ebola, equal pay for women and climate change, the economy, ISIS, and Hagan’s absences from the Armed Services Committee hearings. 

Leading up to the debate, in which Hagan declined to participate, the North Carolina Republican Party sent out hourly updates counting down to the debate Hagan would not attend with questions they would like to see her answer and highlighted that her schedule would likely allow her to make it to the debate. 

They noted that her final event for the day was was in Wilson, NC at 4:30 PM.

“Google Maps says it takes 53 minutes to get from Wilson to Raleigh. Even if they want to stop at Parker’s for delicious BBQ on the way, that leaves plenty of time for Senator Hagan to participate in tonight’s debate,” North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Todd Poole said in a statement. 

“If Senator Hagan isn’t planning to come to Raleigh for the debate, she ought to at least tell the people of North Carolina what is more important than talking with them about the important issues facing our nation,” Poole added going on to call skipping the debate “a particular insult to the North Carolina press”

Despite not appearing the debate, her campaign staff responded to Tillis’s answers on Twitter during the debate. 

In a statement following the debate, North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Claude E. Pope, Jr. slammed Hagan for failing to participate. 


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