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Televised debate schedule tentatively set for Georgia's U.S. Senate candidates

U.S. Senate candidates vying for Saxby Chambliss' seat will debate in mid-May.
U.S. Senate candidates vying for Saxby Chambliss' seat will debate in mid-May.USA TODAY

On Thursday, April 3, Morris News Service had reported that Georgia Public Broadcasting released a debate schedule for various statewide and congressional office races.

With the general primary set for May 20, voters will only receive at least one chance via television to listen and evaluate the candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties.

On May 12, Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate seat will debate and Republican U.S. Senate candidates will proceed two days later on May 14.

U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn declined to participate in the January 27th Senate candidate forum hosted by the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA), and had been a no-show at various forums across the state.

In a response to the Atlanta Journal Constitution about her no-show in January, Nunn said the following:

“I think right now I’ll focus on what you’re seeing me do today – mobilizing supporters and engaging voters," Nunn told AJC's Greg Bluestein at a campaign event in Athens. "There will be plenty of time to debate when we get to the spring.”

Among Democrats, there are four candidates vying to be Georgia's next U.S. Senator: Steen Miles, Todd Robinson, Branko Radulovacki and Michelle Nunn.

Even though Nunn has name recognition, her viewpoints on various issues have been mostly a mystery. One of Nunn's opponents, Branko Radulovacki said the following:

"From the beginning, I’ve said the U.S. Senate race should not be an anointing," said Nunn's opponent Dr. Radulovacki. "For that reason, I do my best say yes to every invitation to meet with voters, hear their concerns and tell them my positions. And, of course, I participate in every candidate forum or debate. I think Nunn is avoiding forums and direct questions because she doesn’t want to be pinned down on the specifics of her views.

"She's afraid to stand for something because she risks alienating people. But that risk-averse approach does a disservice to voters.”

Voters anywhere in the state through public television will get to see and hear candidates in the top contested primaries debate in a series organized by the Atlanta Press Club.

“We look forward to another busy season with our Loudermilk-Young Debate Series,” said Lauri Strauss, the club’s executive director. “Our debates are an important public service giving candidates the opportunity to debate each other and helping voters learn about each candidate so they can make an informed decision on Election Day.”

The series is named for Aaron Rents founder Charlie Loudermilk, who is the financial underwriter, and former ambassador, congressman and mayor Andrew Young.

The nation’s second-largest press club has become the premier host of Georgia election debates because of the reach of its broadcasts and the respect candidates have for it. More than a few candidates in past years selected the Atlanta Press Club debate as the only time they shared a stage with opponents.

Several of this year’s debates were triggered by the retirement of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and the vacancies created when three congressmen gave up their seats to run for his. The senator stressed the value of debates Thursday.

“Debates are a critical element to any election,” he said. “We have the distinct privilege in the United States to elect our government officials, and it is important voters have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates in opposition to each other in order to make an informed decision.”