Grassley agrees to two debates with rival Judge

But her campaign still presses for four televised debates

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DES MOINES — Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley announced Friday he has accepted invitations to participate in two face-to-face debates with challenger Patty Judge, a Democrat who in June had challenged him to four debates.

Grassley campaign manager Robert Haus issued a statement saying the Grassley Committee has accepted invitations to debates hosted by Iowa Public Television and WHO Radio. He said the debates will reach audiences statewide in Iowa and include broadcast, print and digital formats, “maximizing the contribution of their debate formats” to Iowa voters who will cast ballots in the November general election.

“Sen. Grassley looks forward to these debate opportunities. That is why he has always debated opponents in each of his past campaigns,” Haus said.

“In addition to being one of most accessible and open members of the U.S. Senate ever to serve, Sen. Grassley continues to demonstrate his commitment to responding to media questions, communicating with Iowans how he’s working for them, and participating in campaign debates,” Haus added. “This stands in sharp contrast to his opponent this fall.”

Previously, Judge — a former lieutenant governor, secretary of agriculture and state senator — challenged the six-term GOP incumbent to four, live televised debates heading up to the Nov. 8 balloting, saying the two major-party candidates should hold televised debates in the state’s four largest media markets based in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City and Davenport. She also proposed a radio debate.

At that time, Judge’s campaign indicated the Democratic challenger already had received and accepted an invitation from KCCI-TV and the Des Moines Register to participate in a general-election debate.

On Friday, Judge’s campaign manager Joe Fox issued a statement saying the two camps had “a constructive initial discussion” aimed at setting a debate schedule agreeable to both candidates. He said the two campaigns plan to have further conversations in hopes of announcing a final schedule next week.

“Patty Judge continues to believe that at least four televised debates — at least one each in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Sioux City — in front of Iowa voters is the fair and respectful way for both candidates to convey their priorities for the entire state,” Fox said in his statement. “All Iowans deserve the opportunity to be engaged with this election in order to make a truly informed choice in November.”

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