January 5th, 2010
09:55 AM ET
4 years ago

Coakley declines debate invitation

Democrat Martha Coakley has again turned down an invitation to debate Republican Scott Brown. Both are candidates to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy.
Democrat Martha Coakley has again turned down an invitation to debate Republican Scott Brown. Both are candidates to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the late Edward Kennedy.

Washington (CNN) – For the second time in less than two weeks, Democrat Martha Coakley has turned down an invitation to debate Republican Scott Brown in a one-on-one setting, as the two candidates enter the homestretch in the campaign to fill the unexpired term of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Kevin Conroy, Coakley's campaign manager, said Monday night that she was willing to participate in a proposed WCVB-TV/CNN debate on Sunday, but only if it included Joseph Kennedy, a third party candidate who is not related to the late senator.

While Coakley and Brown met the eligibility criteria established by WCVB and CNN to participate in the debate, Kennedy did not. The media organizations said eligibility was based on several factors including organized campaign activities, fundraising and public polling. The debate was scheduled to air live on WCVB and CNN.

"There are three candidates in this race, and we believe that all three candidates should participate in the debates so that voters can make informed decisions about who to support," Conroy said in a statement to CNN. "Martha participated in more than 10 candidate debates and forums in the primary, and is participating in five more debates in the general election. We were ready and willing to commit to the CNN debate if it included all three candidates, but because all three candidates were not invited, we will not be participating."

In late December, Coakley declined a similar invitation extended by The Boston Globe, television stations NECN and WGBH and radio station WBUR to debate Brown. That debate would have aired on Wednesday.

Brown has been critical of Coakley's insistence that Kennedy be included in the debates, and suggested that she has been using the third party candidate as a distraction ().

Coakley is considered the frontrunner in the Jan. 19 special election for the late senator's seat. Brown, Coakley and Kennedy will square off in three more debates over the next week.


Filed under: Martha Coakley • Massachusetts • Scott Brown
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Bethie in TX

    Why is Brown afraid of including Kennedy in the debates? Seems simple enough to include him.

    January 5, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. R in Maine

    So Scott Brown thinks he has a right to choose his competition, even if it is just a debate. He is a loser now wand will be in the election.

    January 5, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. MAngeline

    Coakley knows she has an easy victory so doesn't feel the need to debate. She sounds so high minded, but it's all a sham. She just knows she doesn't have to do it.

    I am a Massachusetts resident who will not bother to vote. Selection of candidates in the Democratic primary was abysmal. Here's hoping there will be better candidates next time around, and making dear Martha look for another job. Her view on the Health Care issue was so clearly dictated by the views of the Emily's List folks. Too bad she can't stand on her own two feet. I would gladly vote for her opponent, Scott Brown, but I don't agree with him on most issues either.

    January 5, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. chubby

    What could possibly have a demorat afraid of debating a Republican? I guess she cannot defend the demorats policies of the past 12 months. You know the tax and spend and just wait for the tax increases coming to the lower to upper middle class from nobamas health care plan. Of course it will not be called a tax increase but its the same thing when your pay is taken away from you by any name they want to call it, like its an "investment".

    January 5, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. sifto77

    Of course Coakley will win the seat–she has no reason to "debate" and ruin her chances. Then, what is she afraid of? Looking incapable to libs? what a joke! Even if she loses the debate, she will be declared a winner by the liberal media–Remember Biden and Palin? A newcomer (Palin) won the VP debate hands down–and liberal media actually declared "foot in mouth JB the winner!!! Like her or hate her–Palin mopped the floor with Biden.........

    January 5, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Tony in Florida

    She has NO CREDIBILTY. She wants to run for the Senate, but she is running away from debate. She is not worth having in any leadership if she cannot discuss topics.

    She knows Kennedy did not meet the requirements and so he should not be invited. This is a smoke screen.

    SHE IS WEAK!!!!!

    January 5, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. A True Centrist

    Martha Coakley refuses to even campaign as she knows she will win with the (D) alone next to her name in Massachusetts. Her apathy and political games made my decision easy: Scott Brown will get my vote as we deserve better than Martha.

    January 5, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. No Incumbents 2010

    Joseph Kennedy is a well-known political name in Massachusetts. Why exclude a candidate with good name identification from a debate? The people deserve to hear the views of all 3 candidates.

    January 5, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  9. Paul from Phoenix

    Wow, what a chicken.

    January 5, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Aunt Bea and Opie

    All polling should be dropped.I could start a poll,and Opie and I could run and get elected.If I started a poll at a Nascar car event,im sure any redneck in the country could get elected if hes a republican.

    January 5, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Robert

    Coakley is a coward and knows Brown would mop the floor with her. It's a political move but a cowardly one.

    January 5, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  12. barbara

    martha knows that she couldnt win a debate and so she refuses to debate. her refusal is a very clear indication that she is afraid. no other way to look at it.

    January 5, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |