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Long Issues Debate Challenge; Turner Accepts

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 11:10 AM

Wendy Long and Bob Turner at the Queens Conservative Party annual dinner. (Brigid Bergin/WNYC)

U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long is challenging her two Republican primary opponents to a series of three debates before their June 26 primary. The winner of that primary will be on the ballot against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in November.

In a letter sent to Representative Bob Turner and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, Long suggested a series of debates held in various regions of the state, sponsored by local Republican organizations in conjunction with local or regional media outlets.

Reached by telephone Tuesday morning Turner said, “That sounds reasonable.” 

Tunrer had not yet seen the letter from the Long campaign, but when asked if he would make time in his schedule responded, “I’m going to Washington today. I have a campaign schedule. I have a district schedule. But I think that can work. Debates are a good thing. We’ll work around the schedules.”

George Maragos released a statement this afternoon saying he also welcomes the chance to debate Turner and Long, but called Long's challenge "premature."

"She does not appear to have made any arrangements with any of the media outlets or the League of Women Voters to host the debates," Maragos said in a statement.

Long is already on the ballot as the Conservative party candidate. Her letter stressed that this is one of the shortest primary schedules on New York electoral history. The full text is below.

Dear George and Bob:

This is one of the shortest primary schedules in modern New York electoral history.  It’s important to hold a series of debates across the Empire State, so that Republican primary voters can make an educated decision as to which one of us they prefer to face the U.S. Senate’s number one liberal, Senator Gillibrand, on the GOP line in the November election.

I suggest, that starting the first week of May, we hold a series of 3 debates leading up to the June 26 primary. Local Republican organizations and/or local or regional media outlets could sponsor these debates. It is my belief this would be a great opportunity to showcase where each of us stand on the issues as well as the Conservative -Republican principles we hold in common.

Obviously, time is of the essence, so I hope that you will respond to this challenge quickly, so that we can start to identify suitable dates.  I am sharing copies of this letter with Chairman Cox and all 62 Republican County Chairs so that they may join us in the planning of what will be an exciting and informative series of debates.

Yours sincerely,

Wendy Long 

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Comments [1]

NY Republican

This is an awesome idea. Long and Turner definitely need time in front of the voters, and this can really help us bring in the ideas and politics that make for a democratic process. Last time, Gillibrand basically had all the airtime and DioGuardo was left in the dust because he had no publicity.

I think it will be a tough choice between Long and Turner because both are credible candidates with a chance to beat Gillibrand. Maragos is a joke, and should drop out now. Just the fact that he wants to put down the debate as "premature" and "unarranged" is pathetic. I hope he blows away $5 million of his own money, because he sure won't get any of mine. Then again, with all the deficits he ran in Nassau County, I would love to know how much financial leadership he can show for his big bucks.

All I know is, I'm glad our party is taking it to the Senate. Good luck, Wendy and Turner!

Apr. 24 2012 09:42 PM

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