Centre College Cancels McConnell-Grimes Senate Debate Efforts

Aug 26, 2014
Originally published on August 25, 2014 6:18 pm

Centre College has canceled its efforts to host a Kentucky U.S. Senate debate between Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

The decision comes days after Centre launched an online campaign asking voters to help persuade both campaigns to agree to their Sept. 2 date.

Centre had asked McConnell and Grimes to respond to their invitation by Aug. 1, but college officials extended their deadline in the hopes the two candidates could reach an agreement.

"My disappointment runs deep for the citizens of Kentucky, who deserve to make an informed decision on election day," Centre President John Roush said in a released statement. "We had every indication early on that agreement could be reached, but as time wore on, compromise on the part of both campaigns simply didn’t occur."

Centre is considered one of the premier venues to conduct political debates, having hosted two vice presidential debates over the past 15 years.

The last-minute attempt to host a debate prompted conversations with McConnell and Grimes campaign officials over the weekend. None of those talks led to an agreement to prevent cancelation, however.

"Campaigns have differences, and the stakes in any race are high," said Roush. "However, at the end of the day, I am more inclined to believe that there was really no willingness on the part of either campaign to come to agreement."

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