Moore: No debate if it includes a moderator - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Moore: No debate if it includes a moderator

Source: WBRC Source: WBRC

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore lashed out at his runoff opponent, Sen. Luther Strange, challenging him to a free flowing debate without a moderator.

"He can counter my positions. I can counter his. But we're going to get to the truth about this race," Moore said in a Wednesday news conference in Homewood.

When asked if he would be willing to take part in Raycom's scheduled televised debate on Friday, Sept. 22, moderated by WBRC news anchor Jonathan Hardison, Moore said no.

"There will be no moderator in my debates," Moore said, responding to a continuous question. "None. None. Moderators are for what? Moderating things? Keep certain issues down?"

Sen. Strange has agreed to participate in the Sept. 22 debate.

Moore said he will only agree to a debate on his own terms. He referenced a series of debates by then-U.S. Senate candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858. Lincoln, the Republican challenger to Democrat incumbent Stephen Douglas, engaged in lengthy debates that attracted large crowds. The format only included a timekeeper with one candidate speaking for 60 minutes, then the other candidate speaking for 90 minutes, followed by a 39-minute response from the first candidate.

"We're not avoiding a debate, we want to debate on the terms of a traditional Republican Party debate," Moore said.

"For him to have been a judge for as long as he was, you would think he would be alright with a moderator," Sen. Strange said Wednesday.

The Strange campaign also released a statement agreeing to Moore's format but urged Moore to agree to a Sept. 21 date.

The two had originally agreed to appear at a debate sponsored in part by the Alabama Policy Institute (API) on Sept. 21. The Moore campaign canceled after Moore said he became aware that API's President, Caleb Crosby, is also listed as Treasurer for the Senate Leadership Fund.

"The Senate Leadership Fund is responsible for millions of dollars of false ads against me, my wife and my family," Moore said.

API did not immediately respond to requests for a statement concerning Moore's comments.

Jeff Rosser, a vice president of Raycom Media, released the following statement:

Those at our TV Stations serving Alabama believe an informed electorate is essential in determining who will be elected to serve the remaining term of US Senator Jeff Sessions. It is an awesome responsibility. We believe public debates are key to the American election process. To that end, we encourage both, Senator Luther Strange and Judge Roy Moore to accept the Raycom News Network's invitation to a debate that will be televised statewide so Alabamians can learn even more about where the candidates stand on the many issues, opportunities and challenges facing our state and our nation today.

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