The gubernatorial campaigns of Mike Beebe and Asa Hutchinson have agreed to a schedule of three debates in September and October.
The first debate will take place in Jonesboro on Sept. 18, the second in "Fort Smith/Fayetteville/Rogers" on Oct. 4 and the last one is set for Little Rock on Oct. 17.
No other details have been finalized, but the campaigns produced a "memorandum of understanding," which stipulates that the debates will be "exclusively for the two candidates and a moderator" (meaning third-party and independent candidates will be excluded).
The memo also says, "Each debate will be broadcast with television media coverage by appropriate market wherever possible with the possibility of statewide coverage for each debate."
The debates will be no longer than 60 minutes.
UPDATE: Full text of the memorandum after the jump.
Comment from Max: Will TV stations agree to air a debate whose ground rules and moderators are dictated to them by the candidates and not set up by the station? This means AETN has been rejected as worthy of putting on a statewide gubernatorial debate on its customary terms? Sad, if so. But probably, because it would be hard, if legally possible, for AETN to ignore other candidates. Please note that Jim Lendall, a would-be Green Party candidate, vows to be arrested if he's not allowed to participate. And independent Rod Bryan is organizing a mass bikecapade to Jonesboro for the first debate. Has Beebe, by closed-door dealmaking with A$a, outsmarted himself by giving these two potential vote siphons a ton of free media?
MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN HUTCHINSON AND BEEBE CAMPAIGNS REGARDING GUBERNATORIAL DEBATES
TO: Potential Debate Hosts and Sponsors
FROM: Chris Battle, Campaign Manager, Hutchinson for Governor
Chris Masingill, Campaign Manager, Beebe for Governor
DATE: August 16, 2006
The respective campaigns of Mike Beebe and Asa Hutchinson have come to the following mutual understanding for the times and format of gubernatorial campaign debates for the 2006 election season.
The candidates will participate in three debates, exclusively for the two candidates and moderator.
Monday, September 18 - Jonesboro
Wednesday, October 4 - Fayetteville/Fort Smith
Tuesday, October 17 - Little Rock
Each debate will be broadcast with television media coverage by appropriate market wherever possible with the possibility of statewide coverage for each debate.
The official format, agreed upon by the campaigns, includes:
1. Moderator - Each debate will have one moderator to serve as questioner and referee. There will be a separate time-keeper. Moderator will be agreed upon by both campaigns and debate sponsors.
2. Questions -- All questions will be posed to both candidates, with each having the opportunity for rebuttal.
In at least one debate, a panel of two-to-three individuals, agreed upon by the campaigns and sponsors, can screen questions submitted by the audience.
The debate formats will not include questions from either candidate to the other.
3. Audience -- Each candidate will be given an equal number of tickets to each debate for distribution to supporters. Dress will be business or business casual. No campaign paraphernalia will be permitted on stage or in audience.
4. Length -- No longer than 60 minutes for any debate. Each candidate will have the opportunity to deliver both an opening and a closing statement.
5. Staging/Candidates -- Candidates will take note pad, pen, and briefing notes only to the podium. No props (pie charts, graphs, etc.). It is agreed upon by both campaigns that no audio or video from the debates will be used for commercial or advertisement reproduction.
Other than the agreed upon debates, each campaign will accept no other debates, but will suggest a joint appearance as an alternative to those such requests. The campaigns will provide a mutual document that outlines an agreed upon format for such joint appearances.
Chris Masingill Chris Battle
Campaign Manager Campaign Manager
Beebe for Governor Hutchinson for Governor