Following repeated calls by Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie for a series of ten general election debates, his opponent, Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, finally responded under the cover of a Friday evening news dump, rejecting nearly all debate invitations. Gillespie called the rejection “insulting to the voters across the Commonwealth.”
Ed Gillespie: “Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam’s long-awaited response of only three debates is insulting to voters across the Commonwealth. With so many serious issues at stake, Virginians deserve to hear the clear differences between us. The Lieutenant Governor debated his primary opponent five times, so why debate so few times in the general election? We should respect the debate organizers and more importantly the voters.” (Press Release, 6/23/17)
The Lieutenant Governor’s proposal for three general election debates is less than the five that were held in the Democratic primary.Despite what the Lieutenant Governor might think, the people of Virginia are watching, and they deserve a fulsome debate schedule with candidates speaking for themselves.
“After pressuring the lieutenant governor for four days to respond, the Gillespie camp on Thursday released a list of 10 debate invitations from outside groups that he has accepted. The proposed debate sponsors ranged from the Virginia Bar Association to TV stations, regional chambers of commerce and former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. After 5 p.m. Friday, Northam’s campaign announced a “commitment to three debates and seven joint appearances” without specifying sponsors whose invitations he would accept.”(Richmond Times Dispatch, 6/23/17)
“2017 Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie announced Thursday that he has accepted invitations to participate in ten gubernatorial debates to be held throughout the region. Amongst the invitations that the Gillespie has accepted is one from 8News that will be shared with sister stations WAVY, WHAG and WFXR.” (WRIC, 6/22/17)
“It’s one thing to talk about open and honest government — another thing to walk the walk. Ed Gillespie opened with the invitation to do 10 debates, and 10 debates it shall be — from the Gillespie campaign.” (The Jeffersonaid, 6/22/17)
Editorial boards across the Commonwealth echoed Gillespie’s call for debates.
“The Times-Dispatch endorses his call for 10 debates, which could serve as respite from the emissions of the party organizations.” (Richmond Times Dispatch, 6/20/17)
“Likewise, the Southwest Virginia Technology Council has already invited both candidates to debate in Wise specifically to address issues unique to the coalfields. Gillespie has already accepted that invite; Northam hasn’t. He should.” (Roanoke Times, 6/23/17)