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'Let's debate tonight!': Collins responds to Gideon's call for debates

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Sara Gideon called on Sen. Susan Collins to join her in five in-person debates ahead of the November General Election.
Credit: Photos: AP

MAINE, Maine — The matchup for Maine's U.S. Senate race was decided on Tuesday night as Democrat Sara Gideon defeated her two opponents in the State Primary. She'll face Republican incumbent Susan Collins on the November General Election Ballot. 

Following her deciding 70% victory over opponents Betsy Sweet and Bre Kidman, the Gideon campaign didn't waste any time on Wednesday making plans ahead of the November election. Gideon called on Collins to join her in five in-person debates beginning in August.

"Senator Collins continues to avoid tough questions about her record of support for Donald Trump and special interests,” Maeve Coyle, Sara Gideon for Maine communications director, said. "[...] Mainers deserve the opportunity to see for themselves what better leadership for Maine looks like, and Sara looks forward to participating in five debates in the general election.”

RELATED: Sara Gideon wins Democratic primary for US Senate

While on a visit to Moody's Collision Center and Jøtul North America in Gorham to tour the facilities and speak with employees on Wednesday, Collins responded to Gideon's call for debates, saying "Let's debate tonight!" She also said she wants at least 16 debates, one in each Maine county. 

The Collins campaign later released a letter she wrote in response to Gideon, saying "While I share the sentiment outlined in your press release that Mainers deserve the opportunity to compare us directly before they decide how they'll vote, I believe five debates is far too limited a schedule for such an important race."

The full letter:

Dear Speaker Gideon:

I want to congratulate you on becoming the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, and welcome you to the campaign.
Earlier today, your campaign spokesperson distributed a press release calling for five debates.

While I share the sentiment outlined in your press release that Mainers deserve the opportunity to compare us directly before they decide how they'll vote, I believe five debates is far too limited a schedule for such an important race.

To that end, I propose that we have 16 live, televised, in-person debates, one in each of Maine's counties. Let’s have the first one tonight.

Again, congratulations on your primary victory. I look forward to an open and accessible discussion with you about the future of our state and nation, and I hope to see you in person this evening.

Sincerely,

Susan Collins

While Tuesday night's results solidified the November race, Gideon and Collins have been dueling for months—whether it be in campaign finances, political attack ads, or endorsements. 

The most recent reports filed with the Federal Elections Committee (FEC) show Gideon's campaign raised more than $8 million in the second quarter of 2020, compared to about $3 million raised by Collins.

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