Warner Signs On To Televised Debate

By Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2008

Democratic Senate candidate Mark R. Warner has agreed to participate in a televised debate with his GOP opponent, James S. Gilmore III, that may be aired statewide.

Although details are still being finalized, the debate would occur Oct. 3, said Kevin Hall, a Warner spokesman. It would be held in Roanoke by the NBC affiliate WSLS (Channel 10), and a free video feed would be offered to any Virginia television station that wants to air it.

Gilmore and some media outlets have been critical of Warner because he chose not to participate in a debate proposed by the League of Women Voters. Warner cited a scheduling conflict.

Gilmore has used the issue to draw attention to his campaign. He accused Warner, who holds a big lead in polls and a 40-to-1 money advantage, of wanting to hide from his stands on federal issues.

"We are happy he has finally agreed to a statewide, televised debate, and Governor Gilmore looks forward to it and exposing the contrasting positions between the two candidates," said Ana Gamonal, a Gilmore spokeswoman.

But Hall said Warner has been saying for weeks that he would likely participate in a televised debate.

"Virginia voters will continue to have ample opportunity to see the sharp contrasts in leadership and abilities as we go forward, and Governor Warner looks forward to contrasting a solid record of bipartisan results versus the record of our opponent," Hall said.

Warner and Gilmore also plan to debate Thursday before the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.

It will be televised in Northern Virginia.

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