Final Mass. Senate debate is off

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October 30, 2012, 8:10 pm
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(NECN: Alison King) - Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of Tuesday's final debate in the Mass. Senate race, but the question until Tuesday evening was: Will it be rescheduled?

Turns out it won't be, since the campaigns couldn't agree on a new date.

"We both decided we wouldn't have the debate, and I think to put politics ahead of people's safety, and what's happening," says Sen. Scott Brown.

True, both Brown and his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren agreed it would not be appropriate to continue with their fourth and final debate Tuesday night as hundreds of thousands of Mass. residents are still without power and in a post-Sandy cleanup mode - but the debate over the debates does not end there.

Warren now says she believes the final televised debate should occur, and that she's available Thursday night.

"My view is that the people of Massachusetts have the right to hear from the two candidates in this important Senate race - a right to hear - yes, face to face," says Warren.

This put the ball squarely back into Brown's court.

"He has to make a strategic decision now in the campaign," says the moderator for Tuesday's debate, CNN's John King. "They have their polling, they have their strategy, the question is, does he think its better for him to do the debate or better for him to not have the debate and they'll make that decision."

By late afternoon Tuesday, the Brown campaign did respond to debate host the Boston Media Consortium, which included NECN. They told us Brown is not available on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, and the two sides cannot agree on an alternative date.

Earlier, while touring storm damage, Brown seemed to feel comfortable that voters knew enough about the race.

"But we've had three debates already, we had a couple of radio debates that she didn't show up to, so I've been available, I've been well in them, I've enjoyed them, I think the people have enjoyed them, but they really know where we stand on a whole host of issues," he says.

"Look, we've had three debates, but everybody was counting one more before the final - before the election - and I think it's important when people of Massachusetts hear directly from the candidates," Warren says.

Two new Senate polls provide a different snapshot of the race.

A Boston Globe poll puts Brown up by 2 percent, while a Suffolk poll has Warren up by 7 percent.

Tags: debate, Scott Brown, Alison King, Elizabeth Warren, Sandy, MA Senate race 2012, weather stories, Hurricane Sandy, Boston Media Consortium
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