Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont has been invited to another televised debate and for a second time has declined the invitation. But unlike the first debate in New London, next week’s debate won’t be canceled.
WFSB and CPTV have teamed up to host the Democratic gubernatorial debate 3 p.m., Aug. 3. Dan Malloy, Lamont’s opponent in the Aug. 10 primary, has accepted the invitation.
“At this point Lamont has declined our invitation, but he can change his mind as late as that day,” Dennis House, Eyewitness News anchor and Face the State host, said Tuesday. “The debate will go on as scheduled, with Dan Malloy. If he is the sole participant, then we will go forward. He’ll just have to answer twice as many questions.”
The hour long debate and prized television time, which includes two re-airings of the debate, may belong solely to Malloy. But Malloy’s campaign is still holding out hope that Lamont will change his mind.
“We hope Ned will change his mind. This is a close race that’s getting closer by the day,” Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s campaign consultant, said. “Democrats have a real choice to make, and the best way to be able to make that choice is to size the candidates up, side by side. It is unprecedented that there would be no televised debates between two major party candidates for Governor in the closing weeks of a close race. It’s never happened.”
“Some candidates might prefer an hour on TV alone. Dan doesn’t. He’d happily give that up to give Ned half the time,” Occhiogrosso said.
Earlier this month Lamont said he’s done plenty of debates with Malloy and he doesn’t believe having one-minute to talk about how he will balance the budget is the most constructive way to spend his time on the campaign trail. Instead he is holding telephone town hall meetings and going around the state talking to groups and individuals.
Justine Sessions, Lamont’s campaign spokeswoman, said Tuesday that WFSB and CPTV shouldn’t cancel the debate because “Dan may need the full hour to explain how 5,000 jobs created minus 13,000 jobs lost equals 5,000 jobs created.”
Malloy has been criticized and editorialized by the Courant for the number of jobs he claims he created as mayor of Stamford. The Malloy campaign has said the 5,000 jobs is a conservative estimate of those he brought into the city during his 14 years as mayor.
House will co-moderate the debates with John Dankosky, WNPR news director and host of Where We Live.
The Republican gubernatorial debate featuring Tom Foley, R. Nelson “Oz” Griebel, and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele will be taped and air the following day on WFSB at 3 p.m., Aug. 4.
Eyewitness News Now cable channel will rebroadcast both debates at 7PM. CPTV and WNPR will rebroadcast the debate at 8 PM.