Senate Republicans Call on Democrat Opponents to Stop Hiding and Debate

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper participates in a discussion as part of the Brookings Institution's Middle Class Initiative October 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, participated in the discussion and found common ground on issues related to the economy, trade, education and …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sens. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) called on their Democrat opponents on Tuesday to stop hiding from voters and debate them ahead of the 2020 Senate elections.

Gardner, who faces a challenge from former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), slammed Hickenlooper for dodging six debate invitations so far during the 2020 Senate election. Gardner’s campaign has contended the Hickenlooper campaign has refused to negotiate about potential debates.

Hickenlooper has declined debate invitations from CNN, Club20, Rural Issues Debate, KOAA, CBS4, and KDVR.

Gardner said in a statement on Tuesday that Hickenlooper continues to hide from Colorado voters because he cannot defend his ethics violations.

He said:

Governor Hickenlooper is the only Colorado Senate candidate to turn down debates. Hickenlooper continues to hide from voters because he cannot defend his increasingly radical agenda nor his egregious ethics violations. With so much on the line this November, voters deserve to hear from both candidates.

The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission slapped Hickenlooper in June with the highest penalty for his use of a corporate jet and Maserati limo.

Even though North Carolina Democrat Cal Cunningham said “bring it on” and agreed to debate Tillis five times back in January, Cunningham has only agreed to debate three times. After Cunningham dodged a debate with WLOS-Asheville, Tillis slammed Cunningham in an op-ed in July.

Tillis said in a statement on Tuesday:

North Carolinians shouldn’t be surprised that Cal Cunningham is refusing to honor his pledge to debate five times given his record of breaking a no-tax-increase pledge to the tune of $1 billion, What is a surprise, however, is that he is too afraid to face me in a debate hosted by his liberal allies at CNN. He should reconsider his decision so that the people of North Carolina can see the stark contrast between my agenda to get our state back to work and his extreme liberal policies that will cripple our recovery effort.

In August, McSally challenged Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly to seven debates; however, Kelly has refused to respond to CNN’s debate invitation. 

McSally said in a statement on Tuesday:

It is a slap in the face to Arizonans that, even with a CNN home-field advantage, Mark Kelly is refusing to meet me on the debate stage. Our race is ground zero for keeping the Senate majority out of Chuck Schumer’s hands, and voters in Arizona and across the country deserve to hear what’s at stake in this election if Mark becomes another foot soldier in the Schumer army: higher taxes, government takeover of health care, the job-killing Green New Deal, and weak-on-China policies that would cripple our economy and make us less safe. Mark is hiding from his record and radical positions because he knows how far out of step he is with Arizonans. I’m starting to think he might be scared of debating a girl.

Other Senate Democrat candidates have dodged debates with their incumbent Senate Republican opponents.

Theresa Greenfield, who hopes to unseat Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), even dodged a debate with the incumbent Iowa conservative.

“I’ll also be at the first debate of the general election tomorrow in Spencer — a debate you are refusing to attend,” Ernst wrote in August. “Would love if you could make it so we could talk face to face about why you kicked Iowa small businesses to the curb. Rural Iowans deserve that.”

Joanna Rodriguez, a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesperson, said in a statement on Tuesday that these Democrats continue to hide from American voters. She said:

These Democratic challengers have spent months terrified to disobey Chuck Schumer and answer questions on their records or the challenging issues voters care about. Senators McSally, Tillis, and Gardner are each so willing to stand by their own records and answer the tough questions, they’re even willing to debate on CNN.

“With just 62 days until the election, it is time these untested and unvetted Democrats stop hiding and show voters who they really are and the liberal agenda they would back if sent to Washington,” Rodriguez added.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.