But Jealous’s campaign said Thursday that they have not settled on a debate schedule.
“We had not agreed,” said Kevin Harris, a senior adviser to the Jealous campaign. “We have the requests, but we haven’t had communication with the Hogan campaign about how many they wanted and which outlets.”
He said the Jealous campaign has received three additional invitations for debates so far, including from NBC4 and Telemundo, and was concerned that the dates proposed in September were too far from the Nov. 6 election.
“We feel voters should have more opportunity to hear from the candidates,” Harris said. “We also think the debates should reflect the diversity of the state.”
The debates are expected to showcase the vastly different visions being promoted by Hogan, a moderate former real estate developer who is vying to become the second Republican governor to win reelection in Maryland in more than 60 years, and Jealous, a progressive venture capitalist and former NAACP president who has never run for public office.
Doug Mayer, deputy campaign manager for Hogan, said the Jealous campaign has had ample opportunity to engage over the debate schedule.
“The bottom line is some of the biggest organizations in the state are partnering together and invited the governor and the Jealous campaign weeks ago and we accepted,” Mayer said. “Now the ball — whether they like it or not — is in the Jealous campaign on whether they are going to accept.”
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews accused Hogan in a statement of trying to “avoid scrutiny of his record by hiding from multiple face-to-face debates with Ben Jealous.”
In 2014, Hogan and his Democratic opponent, then-Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), debated three times on television and once on the radio.
Mayer declined to say whether Hogan would consider additional debate invitations this year.
“We are going to be at the debates,” Mayer said, referring to the two events in September. “Either the Jealous campaign is going to continue to debate about debates or they are going to show up at the debates.”
Joe DeFeo, the director of content for WJLA, said the hosts received an email from the Hogan campaign on Wednesday accepting the debate invitation but had not received a response from the Jealous campaign.
Tom Williams, the managing director of communications at Maryland Public Television, said the station has also been in communications with both campaigns.
“I believe Hogan’s campaign said we’re good for that day and time,” he said. They remain in talks with Jealous’s campaign.