In response to a Kansas GOP announcement this week that it will change the format of the final Republican Senatorial debate to an individual candidate interview format, U.S. Senate Republican candidates Bob Hamilton, Kris Kobach, and David Lindstrom are threatening to boycott the Kansas Republican Party’s final U.S. Senate debate on July 15.
"This is a clear effort to protect the establishment candidate from having to answer for his actions. By demanding a format change, Roger Marshall is running from the very questions that Kansas voters deserve answers to," the three candidates said in a joint statement. "We call on the Kansas GOP to honor the terms put forward earlier this year and reinstate the agreed upon format."
The debate format change "was made without outreach to or input from our campaigns and in violation of a memorandum of understanding that outlined the format for Republican primary Senatorial debates," a press release from Kobach’s campaign said, adding that the change "an effort to protect the establishment candidate from having to answer questions about his criminal and voting record."
The three candidates are asking Kansas GOP Chairman Mike Kuckleman to confirm by Thursday, July 2, that the party will reinstate the agreed upon format. "If he refuses to do so, we will identify a neutral organizer for an alternative debate so that voters may hear an exchange of ideas between the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate," the Kobach campaign’s release said.
Eric Pahls, a spokesman for Marshall’s campaign, meanwhile, responded with criticisms of both Kobach and Hamilton.
"We have done 3 debates in the format they’re asking for. Now Kris is desperately looking for any excuse to throw a fit and blame others for his failure," Pahls reportedly said. "He should look in the mirror."
The Marshall campaign also thinks it is "ironic that Hamilton is so concerned after his bumbling performance in the second debate and entirely skipping the third debate," Pahls also reportedly said.