Ross, Hutchinson agree to debate

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross have agreed to an hour-long debate in Little Rock on Tuesday, October 7. The debate, which will be held at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will air live statewide at 7 p.m. on KATV Channel 7, in conjunction with KHBS/KHOG Channel 40/29 and KAIT Channel 8. It will also be live-streamed on station websites. Participation proposals were sent to both campaigns before the primary with a final agreement being reached at the end of last week. KATV anchor Scott Inman will moderate the debate. KHBS/KHOG'S Angela Taylor, KAIT's Diana Davis, and Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock will serve as panelists asking questions during the debate. Following the debate, the candidates and their representatives will be available for a "spin room" of interviews. "KATV is excited to bring this important debate to the people of Arkansas. We know that it is our responsibility as a non-partisan news operation to help the voters make an informed decision on November 4th," said KATV News Director Nick Genty. Jon Gilmore, campaign manager for Asa Hutchinson for Governor, said, "We are delighted to announce Asa's participation in a debate with our Democratic opponent Mike Ross. There are clear differences in this election for governor and debates highlight those differences to the voters of Arkansas. Asa has been a consistent conservative while Mike Ross has been found on both sides of many of the critical issues facing our state and nation. The debate will show that Mike Ross is wrong in his recent statement that he doesn't believe Nancy Pelosi and President Obama have anything to do with state government in Arkansas. He is running from his record, and debates over the next 5 months will paint a clear picture for Arkansas of just how out of touch Mike Ross has become." Brad Howard, communications director for the Mike Ross for Governor campaign, said, "Congressman Hutchinson has spent the last few years traveling the country getting paid as a professional debater and speaker on a number of issues, so we know he'll be a formidable debater, but we look forward to the opportunity of sharing two very different visions of Arkansas's future. We can elect bureaucrat-turned-lobbyist Asa Hutchinson who has a history of putting big corporations over working families and who will turn back the progress Arkansas has made over the last eight years, or Mike Ross - a bipartisan leader who has always put middle class families, seniors and children first and who will unite this state to improve education, create jobs and cut taxes for working families and small businesses."