EDITORIAL: Paul, Gray need to debate sooner than later

Kentucky Senate Debate

Herald Editorial Board

The Issue: The two candidates vying for Kentucky’s seat in the United States Senate, Jim Gray (D) and incumbent Rand Paul (R), have yet to formally debate one another.

Our Stance: By not having a debate, voters are left in the dark about how the two differ on policy and stances, as well as how they perform under pressure. Reading campaign promises on their websites and listening to their singular perspective is one thing, but can the two of them argue their points when faced with opposition? This debate should not be up for debate.

As Nov. 8 continues to peek its head around the corner of politics here in the United States, people will soon be faced with several options in the voting booth.

Among those, of course, is the presidency, but what some may forget is we’re not only electing a president this November. A plethora of other state and local offices are up for grabs too.

For example, here in Kentucky the race is on for the U.S. Senate.

Current incumbent Senator Rand Paul (R), the man who forced Kentucky republicans into a presidential caucus in January, is facing off against Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D), the man who is still ironically blamed for a giant hole in the middle of Lexington.

Over the past few months, the two have taken jabs at one another at events they’ve both attended such as the annual Fancy Farm picnic in early August and the annual forum sponsored by the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation later that same month.

The Associated Press reported that Fancy Farm was the first time Paul actually attacked Gray by name as he called out his opponent at the picnic saying Gray “has been shopping for a job in politics since 1998.”

Not to be outdone in calling someone out, Gray fired back and said Paul refused to debate him at the Kentucky Farm Bureau forum, which is the second time in the past 35 years both candidates for a top office didn’t meet simultaneously with the bureau, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported.

Gray said it was “unfortunate that both candidates are not able to be here together.” Paul did not say why he wouldn’t appear alongside Gray, but did say he would debate him later.

However, it appears that later has yet to come. We’re just 41 days out from the election and it appears Paul’s campaign hasn’t clarified just when “later” will be.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Paul has yet to accept the invitation from KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” for Oct. 31 and a debate on Oct. 30 at the University of Kentucky.

Furthermore, The State Journal reported, Paul’s campaign had yet to confirm if he will be participating at October forums planned at Kentucky State University or the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.

As voters have seen, Paul is eager to debate as we all remember from his performances on the presidential debate stage.

It seems strange that Paul would dodge debates now for the Senate race considering it would be the first time he could actually stand center stage instead of being demoted off to the side.

For the past few months Gray and Paul have been taking subtle jabs at one another, yet nothing of substance has come from this. Gray and his campaign are ready to go and we should applaud that kind of tenacity. After all, it can’t be a particularly easy task to want to debate a sitting senator.

It’s understandable Paul wouldn’t want to debate because he has little to gain and perhaps the election itself to lose, and no one wants to strike out twice.

What’s also possible is Paul doesn’t want to travel particularly far from home. If that’s the case, the Herald editorial board graciously invites him back home. And when we say home we mean Bowling Green and not Texas; we don’t want any confusion.

We are more than willing to host a debate between the two, and would be flattered to as well.

The election is almost here and for the sake of informing the public, “later” can’t be that much later.