U.S. Senate debate set – UPDATE: Not so fast

A televised U.S. Senate debate has been scheduled at Cumberland University in Lebanon on Sept. 25. It is billed as featuring the nominees of both parties — presumptively Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn. But the Blackburn campaign tells On the Hill that they don’t know anything about it. And we’re hearing Bredesen hadn’t confirmed yet either.

The debate partners include the Gannett newspapers in Tennessee, Nashville Public Television, and the Tennessee League of Women Voters. The event will be broadcast statewide on public television and streamed by the USA Today Network-Tennessee.

Cumberland said it sent out letters to the candidates on June 29 to invite the in the event they win their primaries.

“We are pleased to invite you to participate in the 2018 U.S. Senate Debate for Middle Tennessee on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at historic Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee,” the letter to Blackburn reads. “The partner organizations sponsoring and supporting the debate are inviting the nominees from Tennessee’s two major political parties to participate. We extend this invitation to you in the event you secure the Republican nomination on August 2, 2018.”

Rhodes College announced that it is also holding a Senate debate in Memphis on Sept. 13.

Here is a release from the school:

LEBANON, Tenn. –  Middle Tennessee’s statewide, live televised U.S. Senate general election debate is set for September 25 at historic Cumberland University, a coalition of media and advocacy groups announced today.

Cumberland University is unique when it comes to Tennessee politics, with more than 30 past governors and U.S. senators having held degrees from the school.

“Cumberland University is the perfect setting for this debate. Our university has a special place in Tennessee political history, and this race will help shape the future of our country. It is an important time for public engagement in the political process, and we are proud to help Tennesseans learn more about their choices at the ballot box this November,” said Paul Stumb, president of Cumberland University.

The debate partners include the USA Today Network-Tennessee, Nashville Public Television and the Tennessee League of Women Voters. The debate will be broadcast statewide on public television as well as live streamed by the USA Today Network-Tennessee.

“The election to fill Tennessee’s open U.S. Senate seat has national implications, and Tennesseans need the best information available about the candidates and their positions on the issues that affect our country the most. The USA Today Network-Tennessee is committed to constantly improving the public dialogue during our election process, and our participation in this debate is part of that service,” said Michael A. Anastasi, vice president of news for the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee.

“Public television plays a vital role in Tennessee, bringing our viewers unique content across the airwaves and over our digital platforms,” added Nashville Public Television President and CEO Kevin Crane. “Making this important event accessible to every Tennessean via NPT and the state’s other public television stations is perfectly in line with our core mission.”

Tennessee League of Women Voters President Marian Ott stressed the importance of public engagement in the election process, adding this debate would help Tennessean’s make their choice at the polls in November.

“The League, as a nonpartisan organization, has worked since the 1920s to see greater involvement and informed engagement by citizens in the American electoral process.  In this age of social media and digital communications, events like this senatorial debate where voters hear directly from the candidates are increasingly important.  The League is lending its full resources to the effort.,” Ott said.

The debate will be between the two major party nominees for Tennessee’s open U.S. Senate seat. All candidates who qualified for the August primary ballot have been invited to participate if they secure their party’s nomination.

2 Responses to U.S. Senate debate set – UPDATE: Not so fast

  • Susan Wall says:

    It’s pretty clear to me that the sponsors of this “debate” would prefer Phil Bredesen solo. Perhaps they will get around to inviting Congressman Blackburn at some point.

  • Donna Locke says:

    I would not lend Gannett any credibility.

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