Virginia’s U.S. Senator Mark Warner has agreed to only one debate so far this election season, and it was held Saturday during the Virginia Bar Association’s summer gathering at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. During that debate, Republican challenger Ed Gillespie edged out the incumbent with his knowledge and even-handed responses to questions, surprising some who thought the more politically-seasoned Warner would win.
With a little more than three months until election day, there is demand for more debates. Gillespie has accepted the invitation to participate in the “people’s debate” and seven other debates around the Commonwealth. Senator Warner has yet to agree to a debate in Virginia.
Today two groups, the League of Women Voters Virginia and AARP Virginia, wrote an op-ed in the Free Lance-Star calling for more debates (see Candidates should join ‘people’s debate’):
AARP Virginia and the League of Women Voters of Virginia have a proud history of sponsoring the People’s Debate, traditionally held at the studio of WCVE-TV, the Richmond-based public television station.
Through WCVE and CBS affiliate WTVR-TV, voters statewide have the opportunity to watch the debate live on their local television station or via Web streaming.
While many of the debates are sponsored by business organizations, the People’s Debate is the only forum representing the issues of concern to average citizens that is broadcast free and live statewide.
Both AARP and the League of Women Voters have a long history of providing non-partisan education to Virginia voters. Neither group endorses candidates, makes campaign contributions or operates a political action committee.
Our groups’ debates are known for being fair to the candidates and addressing a range of issues of interest to Virginia voters.
The op-ed was signed by Anne Sterling, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia, and Bill Kallio who is state director of AARP Virginia. The “People’s Debate” is traditionally held on Columbus Day.
Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
Virginia Bar Association Debate
July 26, 2014