Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Daniel Gade, the Republican vying for Warner’s Senate seat, will debate three times ahead of the election in November, including one specifically focused on racial equality and justice at Norfolk State University.
Warner, a former Virginia governor, serves as vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and is seeking a third term in the Senate in a state where Republicans have not won a statewide race in over a decade.
Gade, a professor at American University and a retired Army lieutenant colonel who had his leg amputated after being wounded in Iraq, challenged Warner to five debates across the state after Warner had issued his own challenge to the eventual winner of the Republican primary, which Gade handily won.
“These debates are a critical opportunity for Senator Warner to continue to share his vision for the future of the Commonwealth and discuss his work to protect and expand access to health care and deliver lasting economic relief to Virginians struggling during the Covid-19 crisis,” Warner spokeswoman Kate Waters said in a statement. “Ultimately, we will see if Mr. Gade is as eager to praise President Trump’s failure to contain the virus as ‘great leadership’ in front of all of Virginia as he is at home behind the screen of his computer. Mr. Gade owes Virginians answers about why he has repeatedly undermined commonsense public health initiatives to contain the virus, and it is our hope that they will get those answers through these debates.”
When Gade spoke with 8News in July, he said he would welcome any debate on racial justice and that he’s “thrilled to have that debate.” In a statement provided to 8News on Wednesday, Gade called the three debates “insufficient.”
“Three debates is insufficient. I challenged Mark to five debates, because during these challenging times it’s what Virginians deserve,” Gade said. “As you can see in my recent ad, Warner refuses to stand up and lead on important issues, instead he cowers. This is just another example of Mark taking the career politician route.”
This story is developing. Check back for updates.