Friday, July 25, 2003

Fletcher OK's one debate with Chandler

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Republican gubernatorial nominee Ernie Fletcher has agreed to a single appearance with Democrat Ben Chandler on Kentucky Educational Television, the only event of their campaign that would be beamed across all of Kentucky.

The network traditionally stages two forums with the gubernatorial nominees - an exception occurring in 1999 when Gov. Paul Patton had token opposition for re-election.

KET proposed forums on Oct. 20 and 27. A schedule released by the Fletcher campaign on Wednesday included only the Oct. 20 event. Campaign aides said Fletcher's schedule for Oct. 27 was full. Campaign manager Daniel Groves declined to give details.

Groves said the campaign has "made Ernie available for 18 debates and forums with Ben Chandler." Chandler campaign spokeswoman Barbara Hadley Smith noted that Fletcher rejected Chandler's proposal for a joint bus tour.

Chandler did agree to both KET events, Smith said Thursday.

"We're accepting every request that we can work out on our schedule," she said. "The volume of requests is very large. ... There are quite a few conflicts and we're going to have to make choices."

One televised forum scheduled Oct. 15 could have a nearly statewide audience. It is to be produced by WKYT-TV in Lexington. Stations in Hazard and Bowling Green also are signed up to air it, and stations in Louisville and Paducah might do the same, WKYT-TV News Director Jim Ogle said.

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