Gardner and Hickenlooper initially agree to only one debate in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race |

Gardner and Hickenlooper initially agree to only one debate in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race

The two rivals for U.S. Senate put forward dueling debate proposals that didn’t align and may limit voters’ chances to hear from candidates

John Frank / Colorado Sun
Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, left, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Photos by Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun

The candidates in Colorado’s much-watched U.S. Senate race are poised to debate only once — and not even on television — after the two campaigns failed to reach a broader agreement.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, the Republican incumbent, said in June he would participate in five debates ahead of the November election. But Democrat John Hickenlooper’s campaign announced Tuesday a different roster of four proposed debates that the former governor agreed to attend.

The only debate that met with agreement from both candidates is an Oct. 2 debate in Pueblo hosted by the Pueblo Chieftain, the local newspaper.

Earlier in the day, Hickenlooper told reporters in Fort Collins that his campaign is close to an agreement on debates with Gardner’s campaign, but then. “If we haven’t got it all figured out, we’re negotiating on the last one. We’re close. I’m looking forward to it,” Hickenlooper said, according to The Denver Post.

A Hickenlooper spokesman later clarified that the candidate was referring to debate organizers and not the Gardner campaign. Jerrod Dobkin, a spokesman for Gardner’s campaign, said the Democratic rival never contacted the campaign to reach an agreement.

The potential impasse comes as the race appears to tighten. A new poll released Tuesday shows Hickenlooper leading Gardner with 48% to 42%. The poll had a 4 percentage point margin of error. 

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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