Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and her Democrat challenger Fred Hubbell have agreed to three televised debates in October leading up to the November 6th election. The debates will take place in Des Moines, Sioux City, and Davenport.

They are:

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018
KCCI and the Des Moines Register
Time: 7:00-8:00pm 
Location: Des Moines

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
KTIV, KWWL and KTTC 
Time: 7:00-8:00pm 
Location: Sioux City

Sunday, October 21st, 2018
KWQC, KCRG and the Quad City Times
Time: 8:00-9:00am 
Location: Davenport

Libertarian candidate Jake Porter will not be included in the debate, and the campaigns did not agree on a debate between Reynolds’ and Hubbell’s running mates Lt. Governor Adam Gregg and State Senator Rita Hart (D-Wheatland).

“We look forward to this opportunity to discuss the issues important to Iowans, and appreciate the invitation from the sponsors,” Governor Kim Reynolds and Fred Hubbell said in a joint statement. “With this agreement, Iowans across the state will have access to a vigorous debate about the future of Iowa.”

Porter responded his exclusion.

“Many of you have heard that Governor Reynolds and Fred Hubbell agreed to three debates that do not include me. While this is true, we are still in negotiations and discussions with the debate hosts. This is not over yet,” Porter said in a released statement.

“We find it concerning that Fred Hubbell would challenge us to debates and then allow us to be kept out of them,” he added.

KTIA and KWWL initially announced Porter’s participation in their debate on their website, but it was later corrected. They released the following statement:

In response to inquiries regarding Libertarian candidate Jake Porter and the upcoming October 17 gubernatorial debate, Porter was incorrectly referenced in a written story authored and posted by debate co-host KWWL. The only candidates participating in the debate are Governor Kim Reynolds and opponent Fred Hubbell. KWWL regrets its error and has corrected the story on its web site.

Guidelines for the debate were established by KTIV and KWWL:
The process for selecting candidates is based largely on the rulings and findings of the Federal Communications Commission and other bodies.
The criteria for participation includes whether a candidate:

1) Received significant levels of public support in independent public opinion polls, e.g. 15 percent, which is the minimum used by the Commission on Presidential Debates;
2) Has received substantial campaign contributions from varied sources;
3) Has previously held significant public office(s);
4) Has received a substantial level of votes in prior elections for the same or comparable office(s);
5) Will be reported by news agencies in election night returns; and
6) Has received significant news coverage from a wide range of media outlets.

The FCC and other bodies grant stations the right to exercise good faith news judgment in determining which candidates participate in televised debates, and to use reasonable news judgment in reaching such decisions, with the intent neither to promote a candidate nor to create a disadvantage for a candidate.

This was settled after the campaigns debated over the times of the debates after releasing debate schedule that agreed on locations, but not times. The only initial agreement was an October 17 debate in Sioux City. Reynolds agreed to a Des Moines debate on October 10, but Hubbell wanted it on October 7. The Reynolds campaign announced September 30 as the date for the Davenport debate, but the Hubbell campaign wanted to have it on October 10.

Neither initially agreed on Porter’s participation as Hubbell tweeted that he was willing to debate both Reynolds and Porter, as well as, include a debate between their running mates:

Hubbell’s campaign manager, Michelle Gajewski, tweeted the following thread on September 5th accusing the Reynolds campaign of “blowing up” the negotiations:

She accused the Reynolds’ campaign of trying to exclude Porter’s during the two campaigns’ debate negotiations. The Reynolds campaign said that the media sponsors, not the campaigns, determine criteria for participation.

Hooff Cooksey, Reynolds’ campaign manager said the negotiations initially fell apart due to a disagreement over when to debate in the Quad Cities. They said the Hubbell campaign wanted the debate in the Quad Cities to be held at a date and time that would only allow for a live airing on the digital channel, denying live access to a much larger audience.

“We came very close to an agreement, but we couldn’t accept a debate that would short change voters in the Quad Cities,” Cooksey said. “Maybe the Hubbell campaign is afraid voters will get to know his real record and will reject him.”

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