ATLANTA - WEDNESDAY 7:00 p.m. UPDATE:
After Kemp pulled out of the original agreed upon date and time, the candidates cannot agree to Monday at 7:30 p.m., citing scheduling conflicts. (You can read Abrams' campaign's and Kemp's campaign's full statements below)
Here is the full release from WSB-TV:
The final debate in Georgia's hotly contested governor's race set for Sunday at 5 p.m. has been canceled. The debate was originally scheduled and agreed to by all three candidates six weeks ago. Kemp pulled out on Tuesday in order to attend President Trump’s rally in Macon occurring at the same time. Trump announced the rally on Monday.
“We regret that we had to cancel but once Secretary Kemp pulled out at the last minute, the candidates could not agree to a new time," said Channel 2 News Director Misti Turnbull.
“Our number one concern is giving Georgia voters what was promised, and that is a debate with all the candidates,” Turnbull said. "As in past major elections, we work to bring the candidates together in a debate forum, so the viewers and their constituents can hear each candidate's responses to pressing questions.”
Kemp and Abrams’ campaigns both released statements on September 11 that they had agreed to the debate scheduled for Sunday at 5 p.m. on November 4th. The conflict arose on Monday when President Trump announced he was holding a rally for Kemp in Macon at 4 p.m., one hour before the debate telecast. On Tuesday, six weeks after agreeing to participate, Kemp canceled his appearance in the debate. Abrams did not pull out.
Turnbull worked with both campaigns for a new time, Monday, November 5th at 7:30 p.m., but the Abrams campaign said they had events scheduled that couldn't be canceled.
Here is the full statement from the Abrams campaign:
"Stacey Abrams was raised with the core values of faith, family, service and responsibility; for her that means meeting your obligations and honoring your commitments. She believes that the trust Georgians put in her is sacred, and she planned to honor her commitment to the people of Georgia as she always has. We expected that both Secretary Kemp and WSB would also honor their commitment to this event, in which Georgians get to hear from the candidates on the issues they care about most. Unfortunately, despite his own advice about the importance of honoring promises, Mr. Kemp has decided he will not be participating in the long-scheduled debate at the agreed upon time. With the news that Mr. Kemp will break his promise, we have moved forward and made plans to hold our own event on Sunday in which Stacey will talk with and answer questions from Georgians. That’s what we’ve promised, and that’s what we’ll deliver.
Because we value all Georgians, we already have plans to be on the coast in SE Georgia on Monday to talk with voters, listen to their concerns and answer their questions. We have repeatedly explained our existing commitments to WSB, and we are disappointed that the Kemp campaign is demanding we renege on our promises. We believe it would be irresponsible to break our commitment to accommodate his failures. We refuse to callously take Georgians for granted and cancel on them. Just because Brian Kemp breaks his promises doesn’t mean anyone else should. That isn’t the responsible leadership Georgians deserve."
Here is the full statement from the Kemp campaign:
"After repeated efforts to schedule a debate on the issues that matter most to Georgia voters, radical Stacey Abrams decided she would rather hide behind television ads paid for by San Francisco socialists than face the voters and defend her extreme agenda that will raise taxes by $13,000 a person, give welfare and voting rights to illegal immigrants, and usher in the government takeover of healthcare. While Abrams has decided to duck the electorate, Brian Kemp will continue to travel the state on his Putting Georgians First Bus Tour. He's proud of his record and confident that his plans for our state will keep Georgia working!"
WEDNESDAY 5:30 p.m. UPDATE:
Kemp and Metz have agreed to Monday at 7:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY 5:00 p.m. UPDATE:
WSB-TV has made a final offer to get all the candidates for governor together for the previously agreed upon debate.
We have offered to air a live, commercial-free debate Monday at 7:30 p.m. We’ve asked the campaigns to respond by 7 p.m. tonight.
The final debate in Georgia's hotly contested governor's race that was scheduled to feature all three candidates -- Brian Kemp, Stacey Abrams and Ted Metz -- is now in doubt.
Sunday at 5 p.m. was an agreed upon date and time from all three campaigns. However, within the past 24 hours, Kemp’s campaign informed us they are unable to make that date and time work.
Kemp is attending a rally with President Donald Trump in Macon. Trump's rally is scheduled for 4 p.m., about 100 miles south of Atlanta.
“Our No. 1 concern is giving Georgia voters what was promised, and that is a debate with all the candidates,” Channel 2 News Director Misti Turnbull said. "As in past major elections, we work to bring the candidates together in a debate forum so the viewers and their constituents can hear each candidate's responses to pressing questions."
We are continuing to work toward alternatives, but at this point, the campaigns have not agreed on an alternative time.
“If the candidates can come to an agreement, we will honor our commitment," Turnbull said.
Stacey Abrams’ campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:
“Brian Kemp says he wants to be our next governor, but he’s breaking his promise to show up for the job interview. This isn’t a surprise since his entire career has been defined by his failure to keep his commitments. Whether defaulting on a half a million dollar loan he personally guaranteed, abandoning his responsibilities as Secretary of State to campaign on the taxpayer’s dime, or kicking thousands of pregnant women off Medicaid, Kemp has proved he can’t be trusted to show up for Georgians. Unlike Brian Kemp, Leader Abrams is proud of her record and happy to explain her plans to the people of Georgia – that’s why she’ll be answering questions from Georgians about her plans to invest in excellent public education, create good-paying jobs, and expand access to quality affordable health care.”
Brian Kemp’s campaign manager, Ryan Mahoney, sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement:
“We offered multiple days, times, and venues to debate. Unfortunately, Stacey Abrams cancelled the WSB-TV debate. Abrams is ducking Georgia voters because she can't defend her extreme, radical agenda on live television.”
After Channel 2 Political Reporter Richard Elliot's report on Channel 2 Action News at 4 p.m., the Abrams campaign sent us a second statement:
“It is both unacceptable and unsurprising that Brian Kemp is yet again blaming his failures on someone else and not keeping his promises. This has been a pattern of behavior for him for as long as voters have known him. His list of failures is long and growing, including overseeing massive data breaches that exposed millions of Georgians’ Social Security numbers, defaulting on a half a million-dollar loan he personally guaranteed, and now he is now backing out of his commitment to answer Georgia voters questions’ about the issues they care about most. Georgia voters are ready for authentic, honest leadership, which is why they’re early voting in record numbers for Stacey Abrams.”
After Channel 2 Political Reporter Richard Elliot's report on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m., the Kemp campaign sent us a second statement:
"We offered multiple days, times, and venues to debate. Sadly, Stacey Abrams refused and canceled the debate. Now, we have accepted another gracious invitation from WSB-TV to debate on Monday night. Will Abrams join Kemp on the debate stage or just continue to hide from her radical record and extreme agenda?"
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