Martha McSally challenges Mark Kelly to seven debates before November election

Posted at 6:13 AM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 11:09:20-04

In an interview with ABC15, Senator Martha McSally announced that she is challenging Democratic opponent Mark Kelly to seven debates prior to the November election.

Sen. McSally beat out her long-shot opponent in Tuesday's Arizona primary election to contend for the Senate seat she currently holds. Following the death of Sen. John McCain in 2018, Governor Doug Ducey appointed McSally to complete his term.

Kelly, who is a former astronaut, ran unopposed in the primary and is now the Democratic candidate for the Senate seat on the ballot in November.

On Wednesday morning, McSally told ABC15's Kaley O'Kelley she is challenging Kelly to seven debates.

"Our race will decide...the direction of the country," McSally said. "Arizonans deserve to know the implications of this very important choice."

Watch her full interview in the player below:

Martha McSally challenges Mark Kelly to seven debates ahead of November election

ABC15 spoke with Kelly after McSally's challenge. He responded, saying, "I think it's very important that we have a robust debate about the issues...and we will do that...I'm looking forward to debating these issues with her."

Watch his full interview in the player below:

Mark Kelly responds to Martha McSally's challenge for debates

McSally's office sent the full plan proposed for the debates. It would include:

  • 3 debates hosted in Phoenix and Tucson by The Arizona Republic, Arizona PBS and The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, KJZZ, and Arizona Public Media.
  • 3 additional Arizona debates that would focus on and be hosted in the state’s rural communities: Yavapai, Yuma, and the Navajo Nation.
  • A national debate hosted by a national network and media outlet.

McSally's office also said, 'due to Arizona’s early voting calendar, the first debate should occur no later than the second week of September."

In ABC15's talk with Kelly on Wednesday, he did not say whether he accepted all seven debate challenges. We have not yet received a formal response from Kelly's team about the debates.