Republican Senator Chuck Grassley today said he has not been directly involved in the negotiations over when and where he may debate his Democratic challenger Patty Judge — and that includes Friday’s announcement that Grassley canceled on a statewide televised debate.
“I think if you want the details of the negotiation, you’re going to have to get the details from Bob Haus, who did the negotiation,” Grassley said, referring to his campaign manager, Bob Haus.
Grassley’s campaign announced in August that the senator had accepted a debate on Iowa Public Television, but late this past Friday the campaign announced Grassley would instead participate in a debate that will air on stations in Sioux City, Waterloo, Rochester, Minnesota and Quincy, Illinois.
Grassley has also accepted an invitation to debate on WHO Radio, but Judge says she’ll only participate in that event if it’s also televised. “We accepted TV and we accepted radio,” Grassley said today during a telephone conference call with Iowa radio reporters. “We’re also looking at a third possibility because small daily newspapers have come to us. I won’t mention who those people are that asked for a debate, similar to the congressional debate two years ago, just among print media.”
The one televised debate on October 19 will air in just 42 of the state’s 99 counties and will not be broadcast in the state’s largest TV market, Des Moines, as well as southwest Iowa and the Davenport area.
“All I know is that presumably, there’s going to be more viewers on those four stations,” Grassley said. “That’s my understanding.”
The October 19 debate will be aired on the host station, KTIV in Sioux City, with a simulcast on three other TV stations. During this morning’s conference call, Grassley repeatedly referred questions about the debate schedule and format to his campaign, which prompted one reporter on Grassley’s weekly conference call to ask: “Why don’t you know?”
“I assume you know that there’s been hours and hours, well, I shouldn’t say hours and hours but there’s been a lot of discussion on this subject between people that I haven’t been involved with,” Grassley said. “In other words, I haven’t been negotiating with the TV stations or my opponent.”
Haus, Grassley’s campaign manager, says the campaign and IPTV officials deal with each other in good faith and “it’s pointless to look backwards.”
Judge Monday accused Grassley of lying about why he canceled on the Iowa Public Television debate.
Audio: Senator Grassley’s conference call. 4:38