Under the Dome

Democratic US Senate hopefuls to debate Thursday on WRAL

From left, candidates N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, Heather Grant, Dr. Greg Brannon and Rev. Mark Harris get ready to debate Wednesday, April 23, 2014, during the second debate for candidates running in North Carolina's Republican U.S. Senate primary at WRAL's studio in Raleigh.
From left, candidates N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, Heather Grant, Dr. Greg Brannon and Rev. Mark Harris get ready to debate Wednesday, April 23, 2014, during the second debate for candidates running in North Carolina's Republican U.S. Senate primary at WRAL's studio in Raleigh. tlong@newsobserver.com

The four Democrats running for U.S. Senate will meet for their first – and possibly only – televised debate Thursday night on WRAL.

The debate airs live at 7 p.m. and features Deborah Ross, Chris Rey, Kevin Griffin and Ernest Reeves making the case for why they should be their party’s nominee to take on Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.

Several of the campaigns said they’d been asked by WRAL if they’d consider an hourlong debate, and while some agreed to a longer format, the station plans to end the forum after 30 minutes and show “Entertainment Tonight.”

Anchorman David Crabtree will moderate the debate.

Ross’ campaign sent supporters a notice about the debate Thursday morning. “Deborah’s excited for a lively debate, especially because it gives her the chance to discuss the topic she’s most passionate about: making North Carolina a better place for all people,” campaign manager Dave Hoffman said.

As of last week, Ross had declined to participate in a second debate scheduled for next week and sponsored by the League of Women Voters, High Point University and Time Warner Cable News.

No Republican debates are scheduled before the March 15 primary.

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