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Another U.S. Senate debate set; Capito will skip

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After being excluded from last week’s statewide televised debate, third-party candidates in the U.S. Senate race will get a chance to debate on the air on Friday, West Virginia Public Broadcasting Executive Director Scott Finn said Monday.

But the front-runner in the race — Republican Shelley Moore Capito — won’t be there.

“We wanted to give all the candidates a chance to debate each other, if they wish,” Finn said of scheduling a second debate, which will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday and is set to air on WVPB television and radio stations at 7 p.m. Friday. “We never heard back from the Capito campaign one way or another,” he said.

Late Friday afternoon, Capito campaign spokeswoman Amy Graham said Capito would not take part in the debate because of a previously scheduled bus tour. According to a schedule sent out by her campaign last week, the seven-term congresswoman will be on a business tour of Fletcher Mining Equipment, in Huntington, at 10 a.m. Friday.

Finn said Public Broadcasting offered several options for the day and time of the taping of the debate, and four candidates — Democrat Natalie Tennant, Libertarian John Buckley, the Mountain Party’s Bob Henry Baber and the Constitution Party’s Phil Hudok — agreed on Friday.

Last week’s debate, sponsored by AARP West Virginia and the West Virginia Press Association, used national AARP debate criteria, limiting participation to candidates from parties that had received at least 5 percent of the vote in past statewide elections.

That limited the debate to Capito and Tennant, leaving Baber, Buckley and Hudok on the sidelines…

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