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Blood accepts, Pillen declines invite to NTV Gubernatorial Debate

FILE - Voting booths (Photo Credit: NTV News)
FILE - Voting booths (Photo Credit: NTV News)
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A debate between the two leading candidates to be Nebraska's next governor is not looking likely after NTV reached out to both campaigns.

On Wednesday, NTV's Assistant News Director Chris Wagner touched base with both candidates in the hopes of putting together a televised debate prior to the November general election.

NTV had discussed internally as far back as May that we'd like to do this fresh off of the Republican Primary Gubernatorial Debate NTV hosted in Holdrege.


Wagner said that Carol Blood's camp agreed to a debate.

However, Wagner then reached out to Jim Pillen's campaign, and they said their position hasn't changed since the primary, so the answer there was a no.

Pillen previously turned down NTV's invite in the spring to a debate as well.

Shortly after NTV received Pillen's response, Carol Blood's campaign Twitter account tweeted the following without knowledge of Pillen's answer: "NTV contacted me today about a gubernatorial debate in the fall. I’m giving you a crystal ball, now tell me if you believe this will actually happen? Will he or won’t he let us showcase how well we can think on our feet? I’m ready, let’s go!!!"

Wagner again reached out to Pillen's camp to get a statement pertaining to Blood's tweet, and here's the response he received from Jim Pillen's campaign manager: "Our proven strategy remains the same: meeting Nebraskans face to face, one handshake at a time. Jim is a livestock producer, not a politician, and he doesn’t do political theater.”

The Nebraska Examiner has also reported that the Nebraska State Fair will not be hosting a debate this year, which is a rarity on an even-numbered year, as the likes of Gov. Pete Ricketts, Deb Fischer, Ben Sasse and Dave Heineman have taken part in State Fair debates in the past. Congressman Adrian Smith took part in a 2018 primary debate that NTV hosted in Hastings.

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Wagner said NTV will continue to look at possibilities as November gets closer and will continue to extend an open invitation to both candidates.

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