Louisiana voters likely won't get a chance to see the two candidates left in the U.S. Senate race go head-to-head on television before the Dec. 10 runoff.
The last scheduled televised debate has been canceled after Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell could not agree to whether there should be a live audience on Dec. 2.
That means the runoff, which will decide the last U.S. Senate race in the country, will happen without the traditional debate over policy positions and differences between the two candidates.
And it has both campaigns pointing fingers over who is to blame.
In a news release, Campbell accused Kennedy of "ducking and dodging debates left and right."
Kennedy's campaign shot back, accusing Campbell of refusing to the terms of the latest debate that was canceled, as well as another debate.
Early voting begins Saturday and runs through Dec. 3.
Gary Wordlaw, WVLA News Director, told The Advocate that Kennedy's campaign did not want a live audience in attendance for the WVLA/Nexstar debate scheduled Dec. 2, while Campbell's did.
He said the station had no other option for moving forward "unless they could agree to it one way or the other."
Campbell in a statement called Kennedy "pitiful."
"Mr. Kennedy is so weak he won't even debate me," he said.
But Kennedy's campaign said it wanted "an environment free of distractions in which the candidates could discuss the issues that were most important to Louisiana voters." It also said Campbell turned down a separate debate that was supposed to be hosted by WDSU in New Orleans.
"Foster Campbell is perfectly comfortable talking about his liberal views on MSNBC, but he refuses to defend those same positions before Louisiana audiences who know that his politics are dangerous to Louisiana," Kennedy's campaign said in an email from spokesman Lionel Rainey.
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The debate traditionally held by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for A Better Louisiana was canceled after only Campbell agreed to attend, CABL confirmed. Campbell will appear solo at a forum sponsored by the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday after Kennedy declined that invitation, as well.
Both Campbell and Kennedy took part in debates and forums prior to the Nov. 8 primary. Twenty-four candidates appeared on the primary ballot but were winnowed down to two when no candidate took more than 50 percent of the vote.
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