Providing Alabama’s 2022 U.S. Senate candidates with a debate platform absent “interference” from “liberal moderators” is of the utmost importance to the Alabama Republican Party (ALGOP), says chairman John Wahl.
U.S Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) and former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Britt had long promoted each candidate agreeing to a formal debate, while U.S. Army veteran Mike Durant, the race’s apparent frontrunner, remained uncommitted to the idea until last week when he told reporters that he would “be glad” to participate.
After telling ALGOP that it would select a date if presented with scheduling options, the party submitted three dates for the Durant campaign to choose from, Yellowhammer News confirmed through a source. The list of dates was sent to Durant’s campaign this past weekend.
When reached for comment by Yellowhammer News regarding the possibility of an ALGOP-sponsored debate, Wahl outlined what he saw as the need to provide Republican primary voters with a platform that will best enable them to gain knowledge of the candidates without the bias typically associated with debates moderated by left-wing media outlets.
Left-leaning Alabama Media Group was actively seeking to score a debate between the Republican primary contenders of its own.
“It’s important to the Republican Party that our candidates have access to a fair, open and honest debate where they can speak directly to the people of Alabama,” Wahl told Yellowhammer News. “Recently we’ve seen so many debates, whether it be on the national level or state level, where moderators and media talking heads have inserted their political agenda into the debate. ALGOP wants to offer a platform where Republican primary voters can ask questions directly to the candidates on the issues that are important to them.”
According to Wahl, a debate coordinated between the party and Nexstar Media Group, which owns multiple television stations across all Yellowhammer State media markets, has been offered to the candidates. The party chairman advised that ALGOP first offered candidates a debate platform in March.
“When we first considered the possibility of the party getting involved in a debate, it was to make sure that the process stayed fair and that’s why we looked at this soon after the end of qualifying,” said Wahl. “It’s important to the Alabama Republican Party that we offer a good platform to all our candidates, and one of the areas we think we can accomplish that is providing them with a fair debate.”
Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL