Libertarian and environmentalist candidates for US Senate seat in North Carolina have radio debate

CHARLOTTE, NC (WGHP) — Two U.S. Senate candidates who weren’t invited to participate in next month’s televised debate will square off on the radio today.

Libertarian candidate Shannon Bray and Green Party candidate Matthew Hoh debate from noon to 2 p.m. at WBT Radio studios in Charlotte. You can listen to the debate here.

Green Party candidate for US Senate in North Carolina, Matthew Hoh. (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum)

Earlier this week, the candidates leading the race – Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd – announced that they had agreed to debate on 7 October on Spectrum, ending a few weeks of political tug-of-war over the issue.

Beasley, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina; Budd, who has represented the 13th congressional district since 2016; Bray, a Department of Defense employee; and Hoh, recently certified on the ballot, all want to replace Republican Richard Burr of Winston-Salem, who is retiring after three terms.

The race is considered a draw, with FiveThirtyEight Assimilated Tracking Survey showing him as peer. Civitas, a conservative group that oversees the John Locke Foundation, recently showed the candidates tied – at 42.3% – with about 12.6% undecided and 1.9% supporting Bray.

Shannon Bray, Libertarian US Senate candidate (CANDIDATE PHOTO)

The green party only recently has it been allowed to have candidates on the ballot after courts overturned Democrats’ opposition to inclusion based on technicalities. While it’s not unusual for hosts to limit who attends a debate based on a variety of factors, Hoh pushed for inclusion on Wednesday.

“If I am not included in the debates, voters in North Carolina will not have the opportunity to hear someone speak up in favor of Medicare for All, affordable housing as a right, living wages adjusted annually, from universal pre-K through higher education, a Green New Deal, and ending the war on drugs. These are not just issues that enjoy the support of mainstream public opinion, but real life and death issues for North Carolinians and their families,” he said in a campaign statement.

“To have a debate for the U.S. Senate, and to not include a qualified ballot candidate who is willing to speak without having to appease big donors, on issues that are critically important to North Carolina, our country and our planet, would be a miscarriage of democracy.” Shannon Bray and I are on the ballot for the U.S. Senate, and any institution sponsoring a supposed ‘debate’ that excludes us would be complicit in perpetuating the ruinous two-party system which is so corrupt, harmful and undemocratic that more than 60% of American adults now say we need a new party.

“What are Democrats and Republicans afraid voters will hear if we are allowed to participate?”

Bray posted on social media: “I may not agree with Matt on everything, but I’m sure debates in which Dem & GOP candidates for US Senate are invited but two qualified candidates for the ballot are excluded do not do well by #North Carolina voters”.

Beasley, meanwhile, spent Friday morning in Greensboro, leading a “community conversation” and then meeting with students from UNC-Greensboro before heading to Charlotte for the afternoon events there.

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