Sen. Patty Murray’s re-election campaign said it is accepting two debate invitations, one in Spokane and one in Seattle, both to be televised around much of the state.
Both would likely occur in October, after the Senate recesses. The Spokane debate would be sponsored by KSPS-TV and KXLY-TV, and air on stations in Yakima and the Tri-Cities. The Seattle debate sponsored by KOMO-TV would air simultaneously in Spokane and several other cities.
The Rossi campaign replied that the Republican challenger still wanted six debates, and suggested Murray was sticking to a safe strategy, hiding behind consultants and negative ads. But they stopped short of saying they wouldn’t agree to the two debates Murray has accepted.
Jennifer Morris, a spokeswoman for Republican Dino Rossi’s campaign said he “looks forward to debating Sen. Murray more than twice” and is still reviewing the letter from the Murray campaign.
Last week Rossi challenged Murray to a total of six debates — five in the state and one “national debate” — to occur once a week starting in early September.The campaign has multiple requests for debates and has not committed to any of them yet, including the ones mentioned in the Murray campaign letter, Morris said.
“We’re not dodging,” Morris said. “We’ve just received the letter.”
While the Rossi campaign may continue to push for more debates, the Murray campaign indicated that was unlikely.
“We have accepted these two debates. We do not plan on accepting any further debates,” Murray campaign spokeswoman Julie Edwards said.
Murray debated only twice in 2004, when she ran against then U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt and once in 1998, when running against then U.S. Rep. Linda Smith. Both times, the Republican opponents called for more debates, but she declined.
To see the back and forth between the campaigns, go inside the blog.
Letter 1: Murray to Rossi
People for Patty Murray
August 26, 2010
Mr. Pat Shortridge
Dino Rossi for
Congratulations on your campaign’s success in the Primary Election last week.
Senator Murray believes this race is about the people of Washington state and the policies that will help move our families forward, create and sustain jobs, and make our country stronger long-term.
Senator Murray and our campaign team anticipate a respectful
discussion of the issues facing
In order to discuss the issues in a format accessible to statewide audiences, Senator Murray has accepted two debates for early October following the recess of the Senate schedule.
Senator Murray will take part in a KOMO-TV debate that will
be broadcast live throughout the Puget Sound and simulcast in
These debates will provide
a critical opportunity for voters across
I look forward to hearing from you soon to work through the details.
Letter 2: Rossi to Murray
Thank you for the reply to Dino’s suggestion on debates. I have to admit we’re a little disappointed that, even in this very difficult year, Senator Murray continues to rely on her usual political playbook of minimal debates at the very end of the campaign.
I can understand the Senator’s reluctance to debate, given her record over the past several years on spending, taxing, and failing to get the economy growing; but I think she owes it to the people of Washington to come out from behind the consultants and negative ads, throw away the usual playbook of agreeing to 2 debates in late October, and instead, engage Dino and the voters.
After all, Senator Murray is an 18-year incumbent. She’s a senior member of the Senate Democrat Leadership. This is her fourth time running in a US Senate race. This is still a blue state that went overwhelmingly for President Obama. Yet, she can’t – or won’t - go before the voters and make the case for the votes she’s cast, discuss what she views as her accomplishments, and lay out her ideas for solving the problems we face more than twice? That seems to be quite a personal repudiation of her own record.
I don’t know what the Senatorial equivalent of a Presidential “Rose Garden Strategy” is, — Russell Office Building strategy maybe — but voters deserve better than elected representatives who won’t talk to them except in heavily scripted, closed formats. People are frustrated at the failings of Washington, DC, they are hurting economically, and they deserve honest answers and a real debate.
Jeff, I’d respectfully request that you and the Senator reconsider Dino’s suggestion of 6 debates, one in each Washington media market, plus an additional in Seattle and one national TV. In these tough times, throw away the typical political playbook. Don’t hide behind negative ads and scripted events. Go around the state and talk issues and ideas.
Let me reiterate that we’re happy to work with you on the times, locations, and any other challenges the Senator may have relative to the Senate schedule.