Szeliga, Van Hollen agree to two on-air de­bates

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By John Fritze john.fritze@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jfritze

The two ma­jor-party can­di­dates run­ning for Mary­land’s open Se­nate seat agreed Wed­nes­day to two broad­cast de­bates and a hand­ful of fo­rums, cap­ping a con­tentious ne­go­ti­a­tion that broke down late last month.

Demo­cratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Repub­li­can Del. Kathy Szeliga, who are run­ning to re­place re­tir­ing Sen. Bar­bara A. Mikul­ski, agreed to one de­bate on a Bal­ti­more tele­vi­sion sta­tion and one on a Wash­ing­ton ra­dio sta­tion.

The tele­vi­sion de­bate will be broad­cast at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 on WJZ-TV.

It will be spon­sored by WJZ-TV, The Bal­ti­more Sun and the Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more.

The ra­dio de­bate will be broad­cast at noon Oct. 7 on WAMU-FMinWash­ing­ton, dur­ing “The Kojo Nnamdi Show.”

At least one ad­di­tional broad­cast de­bate is still be­ing ne­go­ti­ated.

Szeliga’s cam­paign said it had agreed to two ad­di­tional tele­vi­sion de­bates not yet ac­cepted by Van Hollen: one on WBAL-TV and Mary­land Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion and an­other on WJLA-TV and WBFF-TV.

It is not yet clear whether Green Party can­di­date Mar­garet Flow­ers will par­tic­i­pate in the broad­cast de­bates.

The spon­sors of the WJZ de­bate have said can­di­dates must have sup­port from at least 15 per­cent of vot­ers in in­de­pen­dent polling to take part.

A WAMU of­fi­cial said the sta­tion set its thresh­old at 10 per­cent.

The only poll con­ducted so far in the Se­nate race, by An­napo­lis-based Opin­ionWorks, found Van Hollen lead­ing Szeliga by 29 points.

Opin­ionWorks did not ask re­spon­dents about Flow­ers.

The can­di­dates an­nounced other fo­rums that they agreed to in­di­vid­u­ally. The first, or­ga­nized by the Mary­land Fed­era- tion of the Na­tional Ac­tive and Re­tired Fed­eral Em­ploy­ees As­so­ci­a­tion and AARP Mary­land, will take place Satur­day af­ter­noon on the Ger­man­town cam­pus of Mont­gomery Col­lege.

The only other fo­rum both can­di­dates agreed to is the African Amer­i­cans in Howard County Mary­land 2016 Gen­eral Elec­tion Fo­rum on Oct. 8.

De­spite broad agree­ment to par­tic­i­pate in sev­eral de­bates, there was dis­agree­ment be­tween the can­di­dates on Wed­nes­day.

A Szeliga aide crit­i­cized Van Hollen for not at­tend­ing a de­bate on the Eastern Shore spon­sored by the Cham­ber of Com­merce.

A Van Hollen aide said the can­di­date had a sched­ul­ing con­flict and is send­ing a sur­ro­gate in­stead.

The cam­paign pointed to a re­cent en­dorse­ment by the U.S. Women’s Cham­ber of Com­merce.

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