Whitefish U.S. Senate Debate Canceled

By Beacon Staff

The U.S. Senate debate scheduled for June 24 at a Montana Broadcasters Association event in Whitefish has been canceled.

Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat, announced late last week that he wouldn’t be attending the debate. Rehberg said he was never formally invited and never confirmed participation. After Greg MacDonald, the president of the Montana Broadcasters Association, disputed that claim, Rehberg’s campaign released the following statement:

“The claims being made by Greg MacDonald, the President of the Montana Broadcasters Association, are completely false. And despite repeated requests, MacDonald has refused to provide any evidence of his claims because it simply does not exist. Even though MacDonald saw fit to announce our participation without so much as inviting us, much less receiving our agreement, we made every effort to work with him to reconcile this debate with our schedule because we believed it would be an important opportunity to contrast Denny’s independent record with Senator Tester’s 95% support for President Obama. Unfortunately, MacDonald has refused to even discuss the schedule or take responsibility for his mistake, and now he is misleading his Association members, the news media, and Montana voters.”

Nonetheless, the event was said to be moving forward with Tester and Libertarian candidate Dan Cox expected to debate at 9 a.m. at Grouse Mountain Lodge. Now, according to a press release from Tester’s campaign office, that’s not happening. The senator’s campaign says Rehberg is “hiding from Montanans” and released the following statement:

“In Montana, your word is your bond, and a handshake is a contract. Despite previously agreeing to this debate, Dennis Rehberg has pulled out and he won’t tell Montanans where he’ll be.

“Congressman Rehberg is afraid to debate Jon Tester because he knows his 12 years of irresponsible decisions and lack of accomplishment don’t hold up to Jon’s accomplishment in the Senate.”

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