CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WGHP) – Two candidates for the U.S. Senate who haven’t been invited to participate in the televised debate next month will square off against one another on radio today.
Libertarian candidate Shannon Bray and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh are debating at noon-2 p.m. at the studios of WBT Radio in Charlotte. You can listen to the debate here.
Earlier this week the frontrunning candidates in the race – Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd – had announced they had agreed to debate Oct. 7 on Spectrum, ending a couple of weeks of political taffy pull on the issue.
Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court; Budd, who has represented the 13th Congressional District since 2016; Bray, a Department of Defense employee; and Hoh, recently certified on the ballot, all want to replace Republican Richard Burr of Winston-Salem, who is retiring after three terms.
The race is considered a toss-up, with FiveThirtyEight’s assimilated tracking poll showing it as even. Civitas, a conservative group that oversees the John Locke Foundation, recently showed the candidates in a dead heat – at 42.3% — with about 12.6% undecided and 1.9% supporting Bray.
The Green Party only recently was allowed to have candidates on the ballot after the courts overturned the Democrats’ opposition to inclusion based on technicalities. Although it’s not unusual for hosts to limit participants in a debate based on a variety of factors, Hoh on Wednesday pushed to be included.
“If I am not included in the debates, North Carolina voters will not be given the opportunity to hear someone speak in support of Medicare for All, affordable housing as a right, annually adjusted living wages, universal pre-k through higher education, a Green New Deal, and ending the war on drugs. These are not only issues that have majority public opinion support but are true life-or-death issues for North Carolinians and their families,” he said in a release by his campaign.
“To have a debate for US Senate, and to not include a ballot-qualified candidate who is willing to speak without having to appease big-money donors, about issues that are of critical concern to North Carolina, our country, and our planet, would be a miscarriage of democracy.“Both Shannon Bray and I are on the ballot for US Senate, and any institution sponsoring a supposed ‘debate’ that locks us out would be complicit in perpetuating the ruinous two-party system that is so corrupt, harmful, and undemocratic that over 60% of U.S. adults now say we need a new party.
“What are the Democrats and Republicans afraid that voters will hear if we are allowed to participate?”
Bray posted on social media: “I may not agree w/Matt on everything, but I’m sure that debates in which Dem & GOP nominees for U.S. Senate are invited but two ballot-qualified candidates are excluded don’t do right by #NorthCarolina voters.”
Beasley, meanwhile, spent Friday morning in Greensboro, conducting a “community conversation” and then meeting with students at UNC-Greensboro before she headed to Charlotte for afternoon events there.