Libertarian independent candidate Joe Kennedy will be in at least three more debates in Massachusetts US Senate special election

ERic Moskowitz reports in the Boston Globe:

Brown presses Coakley for one-on-one debate
Independent will join rivals 3 more times

The major candidates running for the state’s first open Senate seat in 25 years sparred yesterday over the debate schedule for the remainder of the special election campaign, with Republican Scott P. Brown accusing Democratic rival Martha Coakley of trying to avoid joint appearances as Coakley announced that she had accepted three more invitations.

Coakley said she would meet Brown and their lesser-known opponent, independent Joseph L. Kennedy, in a radio debate Jan. 5, a televised debate Jan. 8 in Western Massachusetts, and a debate in Boston hosted by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute on Jan. 11. The last event is the only live, televised debate in the state’s major media market in which Coakley has agreed to participate.

Brown challenged Coakley to appear in two additional debates to be televised in the Boston market without Kennedy, saying voters deserve a chance to see the major-party nominees emphasize their differences in a direct setting. Coakley, he said, was trying to “hide in the bunker and accept periodic debates.’’

“I personally believe she’s afraid to show that her policies are so out of touch with the citizens of Massachusetts who are footing the bill for the out-of-control spending in Washington,’’ Brown, a state senator from Wrentham, told reporters at an afternoon news conference. “It’s black and white. People will know where I stand, and people will know where Martha stands, and it’s important for them to get that opportunity.’’

Coakley, the state’s attorney general, said through a spokesman that the candidates should not meet unless all are present, including Kennedy, a libertarian not related to the prominent political family. The three are vying to succeed the late Edward M. Kennedy in a special election to take place Jan. 19.

“There are three candidates on the ballot,’’ said Corey Welford, a spokesman for Coakley. “And we believe it’s important that voters have the opportunity to hear from all three candidates on their positions and their records.’’

The three have met twice: Monday, on WBZ radio, and Tuesday, at the studios of WBZ-TV. Tuesday’s debate was carried live on the station’s website but will not be shown on television until after Christmas: It will be broadcast on WBZ-TV Sunday at 8 a.m. and on TV38 Monday at 7 p.m.

Kennedy, an information technology executive from Dedham, aimed much of his fire in those debates at Brown, even though the two share a desire to cut taxes and spending. Kennedy explained that he did so because he thinks Brown overstates his reputation as a fiscal watchdog and has not done enough on Beacon Hill to cut taxes and reduce spending.

“If I’m taking votes away from somebody who’s not going to do it anyway, then I’m sticking to my beliefs,’’ he said after Tuesday’s debate.

Brown said he did not notice that he was in Kennedy’s crosshairs. At his press conference, he pitched himself as the fiscal conservative, using a prop to illustrate the distinctions he wants to draw with Coakley. On an oversized restaurant check, he tallied the cost to taxpayers of programs that she backs and he does not, including her support for health care legislation.

Brown said he wants to hold as many debates as Senator John F. Kerry and challenger William Weld staged in their 1996 Senate race, when they met nearly 10 times between April and October.

Coakley’s campaign said the five meetings in which she agreed to participate in the six weeks between the primary and the special election match the total number of debates from each of the last two Massachusetts gubernatorial races.

“We find it ironic that on a day that we just had two debates in two days, and now are scheduled to do three more debates in the general election, that Scott Brown is holding a press conference to complain somehow about the number of debates,’’ Welford said.

There are at least two potential one-on-one debates scheduled for January, though Coakley has yet to agree to either. One would be sponsored by WCVB-TV, and another by a consortium that includes the Globe.

The three confirmed debates are as follows: The debate on Jan. 5 will air on Boston-area radio station WTKK-FM; Springfield public television station WGBY will carry the Jan. 8 event; and a number of TV and radio stations across the state will carry the Jan. 11 debate, which will be held at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.


Previous IPR coverage:

Hopefuls jab on war, taxes in bid for Kennedy seat Posted by Paulie 12/23

Massachusetts: Health Care, Afghanistan Top First Senate Debate Posted by Paulie, 12/22

Joe Kennedy Picks Up Endorsements and Momentum Posted 12/22 by d.eris

Scenes from first Massachusetts US Senate special election debate Posted 12/21 by Paulie

Darryl Perry: ‘A Kennedy Even Libertarians can Support: Joe Kennedy for US Senate’ Posted by Paulie 12/21

First two debates set in Kennedy successor race Posted by Paulie 12/21

Why challenge the two-party system? Somebody has to do it Posted by d.eris, 12/20

Green Party issues press release to support Libertarian Joe Kennedy’s right to debate Posted by Kimberly Wilder 12/19

More Joe Kennedy news coverage: Needham Times, Sun Chronicle Posted by Paulie 12/18

Martha Coakley, Scott Brown, Joseph Kennedy agree to series of debates in race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat Posted by Paulie 12/18

Rich Rubino at Politics DMZ: ‘Yes, Joe Kennedy can win the Massachusetts U.S. Senate Race’
Posted by Paulie 12/18

Boston Globe: ‘This Kennedy wants to cut government’
Posted by Paulie 12/18

Earlier Coverage

11 thoughts on “Libertarian independent candidate Joe Kennedy will be in at least three more debates in Massachusetts US Senate special election

  1. Thane Eichenauer

    Although it shouldn’t surprise me I am amazed that Coakley continues to insist that Kennedy should be included in any debate. I wonder when a Republican will take up the same position.

  2. Robert Milnes

    The conventional wisdom is that the lib will take votes from the rep. The reality is that the rep winds up with most of The Libertarian Vote by default-wasted vote syndrome/lesser of two evils. In my opinion, if the PLAS is not pursued this race will be typical. The lib will lose big. Despite all the publicity. The dem is a lock in Kennedy/Kerry MA.

  3. Austin Cassidy

    He hurts the Republican a little bit, I suppose. But her secondary motivation is to help make it clear to people that Joe Kennedy is not an “actual” Kennedy.

    I can imagine some Democrats might be fooled into making that mistake, but when he opens his mouth it’ll be clear he’s not a relative of Ted.

  4. paulie Post author

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/12/coakley_rejects.html

    Coakley rejects one-on-one debate with Brown

    By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff

    The US Senate campaign of Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley for the first time today formally rejected an invitation to participate in a two-person televised debate with Republican state Senator Scott P. Brown because it would not include a little-known independent candidate, Joseph L. Kennedy.

    “We are not going to do the debate under present circumstances,” Kevin Conroy, Coakley’s campaign manager, said yesterday.

    Coakley’s decision to reject the proposed Jan. 6 debate sponsored by The Boston Globe, NECN, WGBH-TV, and WBUR-FM means she has agreed to participate in only one live, televised debate with Brown in the state’s major media market.

    That debate will also include Joseph L. Kennedy and take place at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston on Jan. 11. Coakley has also agreed to a radio debate with both Kennedy and Brown on Jan. 5 and a televised debate with the two men on Jan. 8 in Western Massachusetts.

    Brown has repeatedly challenged Coakley to appear in two additional debates to be televised in the Boston market without Kennedy, saying voters deserve a chance to see the major-party nominees emphasize their differences in a direct setting. Coakley, he said this week, was trying to “hide in the bunker and accept periodic debates.”

    Coakley has said voters need to hear from all three candidates before the Jan. 19 special election.

    “There are three candidates on the ballot,” Corey Welford, a spokesman for Coakley, said earlier this week. “And we believe it’s important that voters have the opportunity to hear from all three candidates on their positions and their records.”

    Coakley has also been invited to participate in a debate sponsored by WCVB-TV, though it is not clear if she will attend. Station executives could not be reached last night.

    The three candidates have met twice before: on WBZ radio, and at the studios of WBZ-TV. That debate was carried live on the station’s website but will not be shown on television until after Christmas: It will be broadcast on WBZ-TV Sunday at 8 a.m. and on TV38 Monday at 7 p.m.

  5. Thane Eichenauer

    Austin Cassidy,
    All in all I think that those 2% of the voters who pay attention and do research will know that Joe L. Kennedy is not “a Kennedy” and that for the other 98% of the voting population they are likely to presume (for better or worse).

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