The campaigns of his two Democratic rivals accused Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown today of trying to avoid a third televised debate they said had been agreed to in the Democratic primary for governor.
The campaigns of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur released a rare joint statement that included the heading: “Lt. Gov. Brown avoiding third televised debate.”
Brown’s campaign insisted it was abiding by the original agreement.
Two televised debates have been scheduled so far in the campaign, in which polls show Brown is the frontrunner. The joint statement quoted Gansler campaign spokeswoman Katie Hill saying: “We hope Lt. Gov. Brown and his campaign will reconsider their decision to back out of a third televised debate.”
Brown’s campaign issued a statement of its own this morning announcing that it had reached agreement with the two other campaigns “to participate in three gubernatorial debates.” The statement listed the three debates – two of them televised (on May 7 and June 2, respectively) and one broadcast on radio station WOLB and moderated by former state Sen. Larry Young.
The May 7 debate is to be broadcast by Washington’s NBC affiliate, NBC4. The June 2 debate will be hosted and aired by Maryland Public Television.
The Brown campaign did not list a third televised debate, as the others have. Mizeur's and Gansler's statement said they will participate in a third televised debate – on Fox 45 in Baltimore -- on an unspecified date. But Brown has not signed on for that one.
In response to Gansler’s and Mizeur’s claims, the Brown campaign released a new statement saying it has abided by the orginal plan agreed to by all three campaigns in March. Brown’s campaign says the agreement called for three debates -– but not three televised debates.
“Regrettably the Gansler and Mizeur campaigns have a strange view of history,” said the statement by Justin Schall, Brown’s campaign manager. “They agreed to three debates and we have scheduled three debates. If they now want to change the agreement they should at least have the courtesy to be up front about it and explain which of the three debates on the current schedule they want to cancel: NBC4, Larry Young, or MD Public TV - to replace with a Fox Sinclair debate. The Brown-Ulman campaign will continue to honor its commitment to the three original organizations to host the three debates.”
The primary election is June 24. Democratic and Republican voters will select their party's candidate to run in the November general election to succeed Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is term-limited.
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