Democrat Ben Jealous said Friday that he will participate in five debates as he seeks to become Maryland’s next governor. But Republican Gov. Larry Hogan says he’ll attend just two of them.
Jealous, the former NAACP president, said he will take part in three television debates, one radio forum and one event that will be streamed online.
"We are pleased to announce our intention to participate in debates that will truly give voters an opportunity to learn about both candidates’ platforms and represent the diversity of our state," Jealous campaign manager Travis Tazelaar said in a statement. "Larry Hogan was right to advocate for more debates in 2014, and it’s unacceptable to offer voters fewer opportunities this year given the issues that need to be discussed, including rising healthcare premiums, underfunded schools and slow wage growth.”
Jealous said he would participate in debates hosted by The Baltimore Sun, Maryland Public Television, WBAL-TV, and University of Baltimore; WJLA-TV and The Washington Post; NBC4 and Telemundo, The Real News Network, and public radio station WYPR.
Hogan said Wednesday that he had accepted invitations to two debates — the Sept. 17 debate hosted by The Sun, MPT, WBAL and UB, and another on Sept. 24 hosted by WJLA and The Washington Post. Hogan campaign spokesman Doug Mayer said Friday that the governor’s plans are unchanged.
“The governor has accepted invitations to two debates and looks forward to seeing Mr. Jealous there,” Mayer said.
If Hogan and Jealous meet on stage only twice, Maryland voters will have fewer opportunities to see the gubernatorial candidates go head-to-head than they had four years ago.
Hogan and Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown debated three times in 2014.
At the time, Hogan — as a Republican, the perceived underdog in a Democratic state — was the candidate calling for more opportunities to debate. He called for five television debates and two on radio. Brown proposed just three events.
On Thursday, leading Democrats called on the governor to agree to more debates.