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Who canceled the debate? Gubernatorial candidates disagree

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Nebraska's candidates in the race for governor said their planned debate in Wayne was cancelled, but both are blaming each other for the cancellation.

According to Governor Pete Ricketts' campaign managers, his campaign has been trying for weeks to iron out details of the Sept. 21 debate, but couldn't agree on a meeting with Krist's campaign.

The Pete Ricketts for Governor campaign said campaign counsel Mark Fahleson sent five emails since Friday to Dan Parsons, communications director of Krist for Nebraska, requesting a meeting.

On Monday, Fahleson sent the following email:


Ricketts' representatives said as of 12:01 a.m., having not responded to Fahleson's message and all other attempts to arrange a meeting, the Krist campaign has cancelled the Wayne debate.

"This is what Bob Krist wanted from the beginning," said Ricketts campaign Director of Communications Matthew Trail. "Krist has again played the media in a desperate attempt to garner headlines while avoiding accountability for his abysmal record."

Gubernatorial candidate Bob Krist responded to the statement on Tuesday, saying Ricketts backed out due to the choice in media coverage.

“The actions of Gov. Ricketts campaign since the Wayne Area Chamber of Commerce secured Nebraska Educational Television (NET) as a debate partner are the actions of a campaign who had no intention of following through with this debate,” said Dan Parsons, communications director, Krist for Governor.

“The Krist campaign agreed to the debate with NET as a sponsor and has not changed that position. Sen. Krist was prepared to and is still willing to debate the governor at Wayne State College with statewide news coverage from NET. Sen. Krist has in no way changed his plan or willingness to participate in the debate at Wayne," Parsons said.

"Further, C-SPAN also contacted us today with interest in broadcasting the debate nationwide, and this would have been not only a great opportunity for the people of Wayne and the people of Nebraska to learn more about the candidates but for people across the country to learn about Nebraska.” Parsons said.

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