North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley today called on television stations across North Carolina to adhere to past precedent and issue debate invitations to the Democrat candidates in the Senate race.
"I understand why Chuck Schumer and his allies in Washington are trying to rig the Senate Democratic primary for their handpicked candidate, but that doesn't mean North Carolina television stations should assist them,"
said Chairman Whatley. "North Carolina media outlets should provide the same opportunities for North Carolina voters to hear from the Democrat candidates as they have throughout past election cycles. Failing to do so will only serve to help Democrats avoid answering for their radical liberal agenda. We are calling on all North Carolina media outlets to once again step up to provide voters with the opportunity to hear from these candidates as they have in every election cycle in modern memory."
Whatley also noted that Senator Tillis has already put forward the most robust debate proposal in modern history, and called on the media to strengthen it further.
"Senator Tillis is committed to having North Carolinians hear from him on the issues that matter with the substantive debate schedule he has already proposed,"
added Whatley. "If members of the media are not going to hold the Democrats accountable during their primary and allow them to duck the issues, they should at least agree to move the April debate that Senator Tillis already requested up to March."
BACKGROUND - NC SENATE DEBATES
In modern North Carolina history, the state's television stations have always held debates in primaries where an incumbent Senator has been challenged. This precedent has applied to both parties.
In the 2016 Democrat primary Deborah Ross participated in one televised debate.
In the 2014 Republican Primary, then-Speaker Tillis participated in three televised debates.
- 4/22/14, Davidson College / Time Warner Cable (Politico)
- 4/23/14, WRAL, (WRAL)
- 4/28/14, UNC-TV (WRAL)
In the 2010 Democrat Primary there were a total of three debates hosted by North Carolina television stations - one prior to the May primary election and two in between the primary and runoff elections. Cal Cunningham attacked Elaine Marshall for not committing to additional televised debates in the lead up to their runoff.
Incumbent Senators, however, have not historically participated in primary debates. Kay Hagan (2008), Richard Burr (2010, 2016).
- Contact: Jeff Hauser