Senatorial debate scheduled

PARKERSBURG – The two major candidates for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia will face each other in a televised debate organized by the West Virginia Press Association, officials announced on Thursday.

Republican Shelley Moore Capito and Democrat Natalie Tennant will debate 7 p.m. Oct. 7 in Charleston where prior to the event a rally for voter registration will be held at the Clay Center, according to Don Smith, executive director of the press association, a statewide organization representing West Virginia newspapers.

Capito, the daughter of former Gov. Arch A. Moore, is a U.S. Representative from the 2nd Congressional District. Tennant, who was the Mountaineer mascot at West Virginia University, is Secretary of State.

The debate, to be televised and live-streamed on Internet websites, is being organized by the press association, West Virginia AARP and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

“The organizers are very happy to have both Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant committed to the debate. We will have more details next week,” Smith said. “Residents in every county of West Virginia will be able to follow this U.S. Senate debate in their newspapers, through live-streaming on our newspaper websites, on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s television and radio networks and through live-streaming on the WVPB website.”

Capito announced she accepted the invitation on Thursday.

“Voters deserve to hear from all the candidates running for the U.S. Senate this year,” Capito said. “I welcome the chance to debate the issues that matter most to West Virginians, and the opportunity to discuss my proven record of fighting for West Virginia families versus Natalie Tennant’s record of defending President Obama and his job-killing, anti-coal policies.”

She also requested all four Senate candidates qualifying for the ballot be included. Also running are Bob Henry Baber, Mountain Party, of Gilmer County and John S. Buckley, Libertarian Party, of Hardy County.

Tennant in June accepted the invitation to debate.

“I am glad to see Congresswoman Capito has finally accepted my challenge to debate and give West Virginians the opportunity they deserve to compare our very different records and visions for West Virginia,” Tennant said. “Make no mistake, Washington politicians aren’t on the ballot, this race is about West Virginia. And I’ll gladly put my record giving $3 million back to taxpayers and cutting fees for small businesses up against Congresswoman Capito’s record giving bonuses to Wall Street CEO’s and raising fees for credit card companies.”

The commitments from Capito and Tennant are contingent on working out the final details of the event, Smith said.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller earlier this year announced he would retire from the Senate at the end of the year. Election day is Nov. 4.