Gardner, Tillis, McSally Call on Opponents to Accept CNN Debates

September 1, 2020

Denver, CO — Senator Cory Gardner today joined North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis and Arizona Senator Martha McSally in calling on their opponents to accept debate invitations from CNN. All three Republican campaigns issued debate challenges to their opponents earlier this year for various local and statewide debates, and each has since accepted additional invitations not included in his or her initial challenge. Meanwhile, their opponents, Democrats John Hickenlooper, Cal Cunningham, and Mark Kelly have rejected the Senators’ initial challenges as well as invitations to other debates, including from CNN for a nationally-televised debate in each race.

“Governor Hickenlooper is the only Colorado Senate candidate to turn down debates,” said Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO). “Hickenlooper continues to hide from voters because he cannot defend his increasingly radical agenda nor his egregious ethics violations. With so much on the line this November, voters deserve to hear from both candidates.”

“North Carolinians shouldn’t be surprised that Cal Cunningham is refusing to honor his pledge to debate five times given his record of breaking a no-tax-increase- pledge to the tune of $1 billion,” said Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). “What is a surprise, however, is that he is too afraid to face me in a debate hosted by his liberal allies at CNN. He should reconsider his decision so that the people of North Carolina can see the stark contrast between my agenda to get our state back to work and his extreme liberal policies that will cripple our recovery effort.” 

“It is a slap in the face to Arizonans that, even with a CNN home-field advantage, Mark Kelly is refusing to meet me on the debate stage,” said Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ). “Our race is ground zero for keeping the Senate majority out of Chuck Schumer’s hands, and voters in Arizona and across the country deserve to hear what’s at stake in this election if Mark becomes another foot soldier in the Schumer army: higher taxes, government takeover of health care, the job-killing Green New Deal, and weak-on-China policies that would cripple our economy and make us less safe. Mark is hiding from his record and radical positions because he knows how far out of step he is with Arizonans. I’m starting to think he might be scared of debating a girl.”


The Gardner campaign has not turned down any debates, while the Hickenlooper campaign has declined six debates total so far. Additionally, the Hickenlooper campaign has refused to negotiate with the Gardner campaign and will not agree to a televised debate until after ballots are mailed to Colorado voters. 

The Gardner campaign has been in contact with every single debate host on the Hickenlooper campaign’s original list, and are working to find mutually agreeable dates to schedule these debates before ballots are mailed to voters.

Debate Invitations Hickenlooper has declined:
CNN, Club20, Rural Issues Debate, KOAA, CBS4, and KDVR