Democrat Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown on Wednesday proposed three debates with Republican nominee Larry Hogan, along with a separate debate among their running mates in the race for governor.
Such political negotiations typically take place between campaigns behind closed doors, but Brown released a public proposal without consulting Hogan. In a statement, Brown's campaign said he would maintain "the tradition set from previous gubernatorial elections" and "reach more Marylanders by ensuring all of the debates are broadcast statewide.
Hogan's camp did not immediately agree to all the debates, but Hogan campaign spokesman Adam Dubitsky said, ""We want as many debates as possible. They need to be in areas of the state that have been ignored."
In the days after last week's primary election, Hogan said he wants to hold several town-hall style discussions with Brown throughout the state.
The match-up between Brown and Hogan, a businessman and former Ehrlich cabinet secretary, follows a hostile Democratic primary and relatively genial Republican contest. The general election to succeed term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley will be held on Nov. 4.
Brown proposed one debate in the Baltimore area, which he suggested be jointly hosted by WJZ and The Baltimore Sun. A second debate would be held near Washington, D.C., which Brown suggested could be co-hosted by NBC4 and The Washington Post. Under Brown's proposal, both would be broadcast statewide by Maryland Public Television. And a third radio debate would be co-hosted by Baltimore radio personality Larry Young and Washington, D.C. radio host Kojo Nnamdi.
Brown campaign manager Justin Schall said the proposal was designed to start a public conversation about debates, and that he had not formally negotiated any plans with various media outlets.
Brown's debate choices prompted controversy during the primary when he refused to appear at a Fox 45 event and organizers choose to put an empty lectern on the stage in his absence.