Kennedy Agrees to Debate Appearances; Bielat 'Disappointed' with Announcement
Sean Bielat responded to a statement today from Joe Kennedy III announcing his appearance in three general election debates.
As the general election race for the Fourth Congressional District heats up, so begins a debate about debates.
Fourth District Democratic candidate Joe Kennedy III announced on Wednesday, Sept. 19 that he would participate in three general election debates, including a spot on WCVB's "On the Record" and a candidates night at Wellesley College, which is cosponsored by the Needham League of Women Voters.
A few hours after Kennedy's announcement, Fourth District Republican candidate Sean Bielat responded to the debate announcements with a letter stating he was "disappointed" to see Kennedy agree to only three debates.
In his response, Bielat said he has accepted 16 debate offers to date.
Kennedy will face Bielat in the Nov. 6 general election for the Fourth Congressional District seat currently held by Barney Frank.
According to a press release issued Wednesday by the Kennedy campaign, Kennedy agreed to a televised debate on WCVB's "On the Record" with Janet Wu and Ed Harding. The WCVB debate is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 30 at 11 a.m.
Kennedy and Bielat will also take part in MassINC’s “American Dream” debate in Fall River on Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. and the League of Women Voters' candidate’s night at Wellesley College on Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
“My opponents and I have fundamentally different ideas for the future of this country, and I look forward to engaging with them in debates across the district on the issues that matter most," Kennedy said in the statement.
Bielat argued Wednesday that Kennedy is relying on name recognition to win the race and is hoping for "as little risk as possible" by not agreeing to live television or radio debates.
"Every election should be about giving voters a choice between two candidates and their respective messages. If you aren’t in fact running on your name, I would hope that you too would want to give voters a chance to compare us and our views, and then make their decisions," Bielat said in the letter.
Both Bielat and Kennedy handily defeated their challengers in the Sept. 6 state primary, with Bielat defeating fellow Republicans Elizabeth Childs and David Steinhof by more than 70 percent and Kennedy defeating challengers Herb Robinson and Rachel Brown by more than 90 percent of the district vote.