A debate — about debates — in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race.
Late Friday, Senator Chuck Grassley announced he will participate in just one televised debate with his Democratic opponent Patty Judge.
Grassley’s campaign today blamed Judge for the cancellation of a second debate which would have aired statewide, on Iowa Public Television, on October 20.
Judge held a telephone news conference this afternoon and she offered this blunt response to Grassley: “That’s absolutely a lie. You know, I’m not even going to try to sugarcoat that. That’s just a downright lie.”
Grassley announced in early August that he would debate Judge on Iowa Public Television. Judge told reporters she initially asked for a different broadcast location in Davenport, but then agreed with the format Grassley wanted and “even did a walk-through” of the studio in Johnston to prepare.
“After we agreed to the same terms and conditions that he had previously agreed to, he pulled out and that’s the straight truth,” Judge said.
The Grassley campaign is now challenging Judge to agree to debate on WHO Radio. Judge said if that debate can also be televised, she’ll be there.
Grassley’s campaign issued a news release early this afternoon, calling Judge a “debate dodger” because she participated in five of the 10 debates during her primary campaign this spring.
Grassley has agreed to do the one televised debate this fall with Judge, on KTIV in Sioux City, on October 19. It will be simulcast on TV stations in Waterloo, Iowa; Rochester, Minnesota and Quincy, Illinois. Judge told reporters it is “an embarrassment to democracy” that voters in central Iowa, southwest Iowa and the Davenport TV market won’t be able to watch.
Grassley’s campaign has said those voters will be able to view the debate online, since the stations plan to livestream the event.