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Kathy Szeliga seeks negotiation with Chris Van Hollen for Senate debates

Kathy Szeliga seeks negotiation with Chris Van Hollen for Senate debates

Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for Maryland's open Senate seat, on Thursday called for open negotiations for a series of debates with Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

Szeliga, a state lawmaker from Baltimore County, did not specify a timetable or the number of debates she wants, but said voters are entitled to a "healthy" debate schedule.

"You and I differ greatly on many of the issues facing our country today, including our stance on the controversial Iran deal and the overall state of the federal government," Szeliga's wrote in a letter to Van Hollen. "It is important the people of Maryland are able to hear both of our thoughts and ideas on these issues so they can best select the person they want to represent them in the U.S. Senate."

Van Hollen, who surpassed Rep. Donna F. Edwards in a feisty primary election to claim the nomination, and Szeliga are running for the seat that will be left open next year by Sen. Barbara A. Mikuslki's retirement.

"Chris Van Hollen welcomes the opportunity to match his record and agenda against Delegate Szeliga, Donald Trump, and the Republican party," Van Hollen spokeswoman Bridgett Frey said in a statement. "Debates are one of the many ways Chris will communicate those and many other differences to voters across the state."

Though Van Hollen and Edwards had a testy relationship on the trail, their campaigns appeared to work together closely -- and without drama -- on drafting a debate schedule. Edwards initially called for six debates. The two wound up meeting nine times, including four debates that were broadcast by radio or television stations.

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