It will be the first but not the last U.S. Senate debate in Nebraska this year.
Republican Deb Fischer and Democrat Bob Kerrey are set to spar for the first time Saturday at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island.
Two more debates are expected but, so far, they have yet to be organized, including a nationally proposed debate on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace.
Kerrey has asked for seven debates, while Fischer has said three are enough.
“We're hopeful we can get as many debates as possible,” said Chris Triebsch, Kerrey's spokesman.
“We're committed to doing three debates,” said Aaron Trost, Fischer's campaign manager.
On Thursday, Fox News offered to host a debate between the two in September or October. Kerrey quickly agreed, while Fischer is mulling it over.
The Fischer camp says there are several possible debates on the table, including the Fox News offer, and it plans to take all into consideration.
Kerrey and Fischer are running for the seat currently occupied by Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, who is set to retire next year.
The debate comes as a report has surfaced that one of Kerrey's contributors also is the founder of one of the debate's co-sponsors, RFD-TV.
RFD-TV is a cable and satellite television channel dedicated to agricultural news and rural America. It is sponsoring the debate, along with The World-Herald and the Grand Island Independent.
RFD-TV's founder, Patrick Gottsch, gave $5,000 to Kerrey. In the past, he has given to Nelson and to numerous Republican candidates in Nebraska as well, including Sen. Mike Johanns and Gov. Dave Heineman.
He also gave $2,500 to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Gottsch said the donations are strictly personal and that RFD-TV is not involved in politics. “RFD-TV has never made a single donation to any candidate nor has it ever endorsed any candidate for political purposes,” said Gottsch.
“We look forward to a spirited debate with Mr. Kerrey and Mrs. Fischer,” added Gottsch.
Trost said he did not have any concerns with RFD-TV's participation in the debate.
“During the Republican primary, the Omaha World-Herald put together a professionally run, well-organized debate that was fair to all parties involved. We have full confidence that the State Fair debate will be conducted in a similar manner ...,” said Trost.
Mike Reilly, executive editor of The World-Herald, noted that journalists with The World-Herald and the Independent would formulate and put together the questions.
“We are absolutely confident we can put on a first-rate candidates' forum that's independent and fair-minded,” Reilly said.
State Fair Senate debate
To Attend: A ticket to the Nebraska State Fair is all you need. The debate is at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Heartland Events Center.
To Watch Live on RFD-TV and RURAL TV:
>> Omaha viewers — Channel 275 on Cox Cable
>> Lincoln viewers — Channel 229 on Time Warner Cable
>> Nebraska and Iowa — Channel 345 on DirecTV; Channels 231 and 232 on Dish Network; Channel 138 on Charter
>> Iowa — Channel 78 on Mediacom
>> In addition, the debate will air three more times on RURAL TV after the live airing.
Watch live online at Omaha.com
Contact the writer: 402-444-1309, firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for information on the Nebraska State Fair's schedule, tickets and more.