5NEWS, Talk Business & Politics To Host Governor’s Debate

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — 5NEWS and Talk Business & Politics (TB&P) will host a gubernatorial debate Sept. 10 that will feature Democratic nominee Jared Henderson and Libertarian nominee Mark West.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson was invited to participate in the debate, but declined.

Henderson and West will participate in a question-and-answer debate with television journalists at 7 p.m. at the KATV studio at Fourth and Main streets in Little Rock.

Journalists from 5NEWS, KATV, TB&P and KAIT in Jonesboro will question the candidates from their respective studios, and the debate will be live-streamed on all four news outlets’ web sites and Facebook pages.

“We are excited to provide this forum to candidates for voters to make informed choices in this high-profile race,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics CEO.

“Many thanks to Henderson and West for agreeing to participate. I’m disappointed that Gov. Hutchinson declined our invitation. We were open to modifying the proposal to accommodate him.”

Originally, the debate proposals included preempting national network programming to broadcast the debate during prime time television on the TV stations involved.

With the lack of participation from incumbent elected officials, gaining network approval for preemption is more difficult.

“Through this forum we will conduct, we know that voters will learn more about their choices for Governor — 2018 is an important election cycle for Arkansas,” said Rick Bagley, KFSM News Director.

“As a news organization, we’ve provided this forum for the serious candidates to speak to voters and we hope viewers will take advantage of this opportunity.”

The participating candidates expressed their views on the forums.

“I am looking forward to participating in this debate. It’s no surprise that Asa Hutchinson no longer wants to be on the same stage with us, because we’re holding him accountable on Arkansas’s corrupt state government, crumbling infrastructure, teacher pay, tax cuts for the wealthy, and leaving behind rural communities,” Henderson said.

“As Governor, I will answer to the voters of Arkansas anytime, anywhere and fight to make Arkansas the best place in the country to be a public school teacher, protect our rural hospitals, lower the cost of health care, promote small business development, and tackle childhood poverty.”

West also said he looks forward to the debate.

“I’m excited and looking forward to each and every opportunity given our campaign to take our message of making Arkansas the ‘Destination State for Liberty’ directly to voters in this wonderful state,” West said.

“I’m disappointed that our Governor will not be participating in the upcoming debate, but I’m thrilled to share the stage with the Democratic candidate, Jared Henderson. Our debate will be a lively contrast of impassioned ideas centered on the goal of improving our state for hard-working Arkansans.”