HELENA – Republican gubernatorial candidate Roy Brown has challenged Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer to debate him 18 times across Montana this fall. Schweitzer’s campaign said the governor would agree to five televised debates.
In a letter to Schweitzer on Tuesday, Brown suggested two debates in Billings along with debates in Missoula, Butte and Hamilton. Brown also proposed debates in Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell, Helena, Havre, Hardin, Miles City, Dillon, Glasgow, Sidney, Lewistown, Livingston and Polson.
“Governor, giving the voters the chance to hear our ideas and make up their own mind is one of the most important obligations we have as candidates to the voters of our state,” Brown wrote to Schweitzer. “I hope you’ll join me in this effort to educate the voters about the differences in our campaigns.”
Challengers typically request numerous debates to give them the opportunity to increase their visibility. Incumbents usually want to debate far fewer times.
Schweitzer campaign manager Harper Lawson said: “We believe that five organized debates broadcast across the state will give the people of Montana a fair and unfiltered view of where all three candidates for governor stand on the issues.”
Lawson introduced the possibility of adding Libertarian candidates Stan Jones to the debate.
Lawson said Schweitzer’s campaign has already spoken to potential debate sponsors for Missoula on Sept. 10, Helena on Sept. 25, Billings on Oct. 7 and Great Falls on Oct 24. They are also working on a debate in Butte on Sept. 29.
Schweitzer’s campaign has agreed to a lieutenant governor’s debate on Yellowstone Public Radio of Billings, broadcast statewide, between Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger and Brown’s running mate, Steve Daines.
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