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After 'last-minute' talks, Centre cancels Ky Senate debate

by Joe Arnold


Posted on August 25, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 25 at 5:37 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Centre College announced Monday it has canceled its effort to host a U.S. Senate debate after no agreement could be reached between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D).

“My disappointment runs deep for the citizens of Kentucky, who deserve to make an informed decision on election day,” said John A. Roush, president of Centre College. “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.”

McConnell and Grimes both participated in an agricultural forum at the Kentucky Farm Bureau last week and both have confirmed their participation in the October 13 Kentucky Tonight debate on Kentucky Educational Television (KET).

WHAS-TV's debate invitation remains active and the television station has been in contact with both the Grimes and McConnell campaigns in the hope the candidates agree to a compromise debate proposal which represents a hybrid of the differing conditions stipulated by McConnell and Grimes.

WHAS11's debate proposal includes no studio audience, but WHAS11 will provide a satellite feed to any television or radio station, to ensure as wide an audience as possible.

The debate will include questions split evenly from three sources: from each candidate to the other, video questions submitted by Kentucky voters and by WHAS11 Political Editor Joe Arnold, who would serve as the sole timekeeper and moderator of the debate. 

WHAS11's debate would not involve any special interest groups.

Centre College originally requested that the candidates respond to its invitation by August 1, but extended the deadline in an effort to come to agreement over details regarding format and structure. 

A last ditch effort to prod the campaigns "did prompt a few last-minute conversations over the weekend with campaign officials," a news release from the college explains, yet none were substantive enough to prevent cancellation.

Centre hosted the  vice presidential debates in 2000 and 2012.