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After first accepting, Gov. Ricketts now backtracking on Wayne debate

LINCOLN, NE – The Bob Krist for Governor Campaign said today that Gov. Ricketts is now backing away from an agreed upon debate on September 21 at Wayne State College.

According to the Krist campaign, although the Ricketts campaign announced weeks ago that they agreed to the Wayne debate, they are now backing away after the Wayne Area Economic Development Chamber notified both campaigns last Friday that they have asked the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) to produce, moderate and broadcast the event across their statewide network.

In an email last Friday to Luke Virgil, Executive Director of WAED, Ricketts campaign manager Jessica Flanagain, falsely claimed that some media outlets were being excluded from the debate, when in fact no such objections have been voiced from the Krist campaign, the Wayne organizers or NET. Flanagin also stated that she was contacting their lawyer; an apparent threat of a lawsuit.

On Aug 31, 2018, at 4:04 PM, Jessica Flanagain wrote: Good afternoon Luke. I am pleased to hear that progress has been made on the September 21 debate. I am, however, unclear on why exclusions have been made with regard to media partners. It was my understanding as we agreed to this debate that the statewide network News Channel Nebraska, and a local news partner, the Norfolk Daily News, were going to be the media partners. It was also my understanding that Kent Warnecke of the Norfolk Daily News was to be the moderator. I have included Andy Ruback of News Channel Nebraska as well as our attorney Mark Fahleson on this email.

As of today, just two weeks prior to the scheduled debate on September 21, representatives from NET and Wayne Economic Development, said they have yet to secure the governor’s agreement to participate in the debate.

Krist also renewed his request to hold a third debate in Scottsbluff devoted exclusively to the topic of property taxes, which the governor has also rejected.

From the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, August 13:​ Pete Ricketts for Governor campaign spokesman Matthew Trail said in an email that the governor will participate in the customary three debates and no more.

“We challenge the Governor to step up to the microphone and television cameras and defend his record.”


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