Under the Dome

McCrory pushes for more debates with Cooper

North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper and Republican incumbent Pat McCrory.
North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper and Republican incumbent Pat McCrory. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

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Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign is pushing for a series of debates and other events with Democratic challenger Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The governor’s campaign says it has committed to six debates and a seventh could be in the works. The campaign says it’s open to additional dates.

Last month Cooper’s campaign said it had agreed to four events, three of them debates, that it hoped the governor would join. But so far both candidates have committed to debate each other just twice.

Both candidates have agreed to a first debate on Friday in Charlotte hosted by the N.C. Bar Association. They have also agreed on a live debate hosted by the N.C. Association of Broadcasters on a date yet to be chosen. The McCrory campaign says it has requested a second debate by the broadcasters, but that hasn’t been settled yet.

McCrory has committed to debates offered by Time Warner Cable News, ABC 11 in Raleigh and Fox 8 in Greensboro and is in talks with a Charlotte TV station. A spokesman for Cooper’s campaign on Monday said the attorney general would stand by the debate schedule he proposed.

McCrory is declining to participate in an Oct. 18 debate sponsored by WRAL-TV. The governor’s campaign has complained to the station in writing that when it reports on the governor’s race it should disclose the fact that owner Jim Goodmon has contributed to Cooper’s campaign.

McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz said by email, “The people of North Carolina deserve a robust debate over the most important issues facing families today. That's why Governor McCrory is ready to debate Roy Cooper and contrast his positive record of success to Roy Cooper's failed record in state government over the past 30 years."

Cooper campaign spokesman Jamal Little emailed:

“While it's nice to see Governor McCrory coming around to the idea of debates, he's ignored our proposal for a month. When the Governor is finished with more political gamesmanship we stand ready to have a thoughtful discussion of the issues in Charlotte this Friday.”

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO

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