Markey In Negotiations for Two Televised Debates

Last night, Libertad posted a diary on Coloradopols commenting on Betsy Markey’s recent decision to pull out of the debate sponsored by The Coloradoan & 9 news. Referencing a recent article in the Coloradoan itself, he writes:

Shocking news from CD4 comes with a last minute announcement from the Congressman to refuse a debate with challenger Cory Gardner.

Under terms calling for a polling threshold 50% lower then Presidential debates require, ACP and other candidates were not invited. Yet these same terms existed in 2008 for the debate sponsored by 9News & The Coloradoan.

Republican Gardner was saddened by Markey’s late refusal to address the voters.

Saddened by this news, I wrote a post on my own website chastising Markey for the decision. I argued that she was doing a disservice to the district by denying the voters an opportunity to see the major candidates debate the major issues important to Colorado, match wits, and defend their positions side-by-side in a public forum.

Indeed, the Coloradoan article–the same article Libertad referenced–reported that Markey “disagreed with the organizers’ plans to only invite candidates who have shown at least 10 percent support in polls.” And it reported that she wanted all four candidates present for the one-hour televised debate even though Ken Waszkiewicz and Doug Aden are only polling five and two percent respectively.

In doing so, the article heavily implied that the Coloradoan/9 News debate is the only one Markey had committed to because the campaign hadn’t responded to a debate invitation by PBS.  

Since the publication of Libertad’s diary, as well as my post, however, I have been in contact Markey’s campaign spokesman, Ben Marter, and he has informed me that contrary to the reporting in the Coloradoan article, which omits critical information, Markey has actually already agreed to other televised debates.  

“We have agreed to two televised debates so far, but we’re still confirming dates and times,” he told me.

While still in negotiation over the details, he also told me that all four candidates will be invited.

I am heartened by this news and I look forward to a lively and festive exchange between Markey, Gardner, and the other two candidates.

For Libertad’s diary:…

The original posts on my website:



19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Libertad says:

    “We are absolutely surprised that an important debate between the leading candidates for the 4th Congressional District is being cancelled because Rep. Betsy Markey is trying to change the debate policy that has been in place at KUSA-TV for dozens of years,” Dennis said.

    “These debates are intended to give the voters a chance to listen to the leading candidates propose and defend their positions in representative government. The debates are not intended to let the candidates dictate the content or the format. The televised format is immediate, informative and the best way to serve the constituents of the 4th District,” she said.

    Coloradoan President and Publisher Kim Wilson said: “It is very unfortunate that Rep. Betsy Markey is unwilling to participate in what was sure to be an informative dialogue between the two leading candidates in the 4th Congressional District. In the end, it’s the voters who lose out when this type of decision is made.”

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    she wanted the debate to include all. These will.

  3. Adam Schrager says:

    If you want the full story, you should know Rep. Markey agreed to do the debate this past spring with no conditions attached. She has now brought conditions to the table. I happen to think that’s relevant.

    • Pam Bennett says:

      This has been one of the fun sideshows for a very long while – who should be in the debates?

      I can see the reason for limiting who is on. Especially if there are 10 candidates and a few of the candidates are only running because they lost a beer bet in the garage one Saturday night at midnight.

      I can also see bringing in all candidates. I have been on those. It can be a problem to get a good number of questions and answers within a limited time period. But, it gives the voters a view of all the candidates.

      I go with Betsy on this one because there are only four candidates and the physical size of the CD is so big. A full candidate debate would be the only way to give each candidate exposure.

    • WhyKnot says:

      When was the 4th CD ballot finalized?  

    • Laughing Boy says:

      Betsey will have plenty of time to negotiate her salary in the private sector in January.

    • ace41 says:

      My recollection was it was not until early summer…

      And I highly doubt Markey completely agreed to an October debate in early spring…and even if she did, she would have hardly known who was going to be on the ballot until it was finalized at the end of August.

      Sorry, Adam, I was inclined to be upset with Markey for not agreeing to a debate…until I read the whole story.  She just didn’t agree to YOUR debate.  Hardly a rare occurrence in a campaign.

    • rdawkins22 says:

      Thanks for the information, Adam.  I think that it is relevant too. How relevant and to what degree, I am not sure yet.  

    • EmeraldKnight76 says:

      Did Markey know there would be 4 candidates “this past spring”? Has she agreed to debates, other than yours, that DO include all 4 candidates?

      I can understand your need to protect the station’s position on this issue. I can even it from your point of view.

      Not sure you should give us “full disclosure” but not the full story.

  4. Adam Schrager says:

    Back in 2006, Rep. Musgrave did not want Eric Eidsness involved in our 4th CD debate, but he was polling in double digits and was included. She capitulated and participated in the debate.

  5. Barron X says:


    Here you appear to be reporting that she refuses to participate unless all 4 were included.

    How is this different than what Libertad reported ?  


    • Rainidog says:

      He wrote this to refute any inference that there wouldn’t be any other debates.

      • Barron X says:


        If the other 2 candidates are not invited, or not allowed to participate, then she refuses to participate.  That’s apparently her negotiating position.  

        Again, I ask: how is this any different than what Libertad reported earlier ?  

        If the 2 lesser candidates are not invited, or not included, or whatever, there won’t be any other debates, because Markey will refuse to participate.  

        I don’t think that word “refute” means what you think it means.  Perhaps you meant “deny” or “disagree with ?”


  6. H-man says:

    is if the third and fourth candidates take votes away from Gardner.  Betsy the incumbent has not been reaching 40% in any polling.  Generally incumbents who don’t reach 50% by labor day lose because undecideds break for the challenger.

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