Brownback, Davis campaigns debate about debates

08/29/2014 5:57 PM

08/29/2014 6:07 PM

Governor candidates Sam Brownback and Paul Davis got an early start on the debate season by debating which debates they will debate in.

As of Friday evening, Republican Gov. Brownback’s campaign had agreed to four debates; his opponent, House Minority Leader Davis, had agreed to three.

But only two of the debates on their lists are in the same place at the same time.

Both candidates have agreed to debate from 9 to 10 a.m. Sept. 6 at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson.

They also have agreed to an Oct. 21 luncheon debate at the Kansas Association of Broadcasters meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel at the Wichita airport.

Beyond that, they don’t agree.

Brownback’s campaign started things off with a news release announcing the campaign had also agreed to participate in debates at KWCH-TV in Wichita and at the Johnson County Public Policy Council.

Shortly after, the Davis campaign sent out a news release saying Davis had agreed to appear in a one-hour primetime debate sponsored by KSN, KSNT, The Wichita Eagle and the Topeka Capital-Journal.

Neither the KWCH debate nor the Johnson County debate was on Davis’ schedule. The KSN debate wasn’t on Brownback’s.

Earlier this week, the governor’s re-election campaign criticized a poll commissioned by KSN that showed Davis ahead in the race by 8 percentage points, 48-40. The poll was conducted by the national polling firm SuveyUSA.

Within hours after the poll came out, Brownback spokesman John Milburn released an internal campaign poll that had the governor up 43-42 percent.

On Wednesday, Brownback campaign manager Mark Dugan sent an e-mail to campaign supporters calling the SurveyUSA poll absurd. Dugan said the poll gave too much weight to Democrats and urged the governor’s supporters to ignore it.

On Friday, Milburn said displeasure over the poll “had nothing to do with” Brownback not agreeing to debate on KSN.

Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527 or

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