McConnell, Grimes camps disagree on format
DANVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 26, 2014) — A 2014 Kentucky U.S. Senate debate between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes will not take place at Centre College on Sept. 3, after the two campaigns failed to agree on format and structure of the debate.
“My disappointment runs deep for the citizens of Kentucky, who deserve to make an informed decision on election day,” said Centre President John A. Roush. “We had every indication early on that agreement could be reached, but as time wore on, compromise on the part of both campaigns simply didn’t occur.”
Centre originally requested that the candidates respond to the invitation by Aug. 1, but college officials discussed and met with campaign representatives after that date in an effort to come to agreement over details regarding format and structure.
The final attempt to receive a “yes” or “no” took the form of an open letter by Roush on Aug. 20 to “Fellow Kentuckians,” asking for support via social media.
In his letter, Roush expressed an interest in putting “in place a format for a civilized, meaningful discussion between the candidates to learn more about them and their aspirations for serving the Commonwealth and to get past the carefully rehearsed, contrived, and sometimes mean-spirited advertising that increasingly characterizes political campaigns these days.”
While this did prompt a few last-minute conversations over the weekend with campaign officials, none were substantive enough to prevent cancellation.
“Campaigns have differences and the stakes in any race are high,” Roush said. “However, at the end of the day, I am more inclined to believe that there was really no willingness on the part of either campaign to come to agreement.”