RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gubernatorial candidates Walter Dalton and Pat McCrory have agreed to participate this fall in two statewide debates organized by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters.
The association’s educational foundation announced Thursday that Republican McCrory and Democrat Dalton have signed off on debates for Oct. 3 and Oct. 16 at the University of North Carolina Television studios in Research Triangle Park. The 7 p.m. debates will air on TV and radio and feature a moderator and broadcast journalists.
The one-hour debates would occur on the same nights as the first two presidential debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but earlier in the evening. The gubernatorial events usually haven’t occurred on the same dates as the presidential debates.
Dalton, the current lieutenant governor, and McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor, already have met once for a debate in June at the North Carolina Bar Association annual meeting in Wilmington.
Libertarian Barbara Howe will not participate in the debates put on by the NCAB, which historically has used a 10 percent polling threshold when inviting candidates. Howe said Thursday she’s a legal candidate that has polled in the high single digits in some surveys.
“The voters of North Carolina deserve better,” Howe said in a phone interview.
Both major-party candidates in 2012 have said they want more debates but haven’t unveiled any agreements for other venues.
McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said McCrory has accepted invitations to debates in Rocky Mount, Wilmington and Greensboro. Dalton had previously wanted debates on several community college campuses. Schorr Johnson, his campaign spokesman, said earlier Thursday the campaign was waiting on the NCAB debates to be finalized before agreeing to others.
McCrory and Democrat Beverly Perdue participated together in several televised debates in the 2008 gubernatorial campaign, with Libertarian Mike Munger joining them once.
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