Gomez, Markey agree to WBZ/Boston Globe debate on June 5

Today, both Democrat Edward J. Markey and Republican Gabriel E. Gomez said they would participate in a June 5 US Senate debate sponsored by WBZ-TV and the Boston Globe.

In separate interviews with the Globe on the campaign trail, both confirmed their attendance at the forum, which appears likely to be the first debate of the short general election campaign for US Senate.

No other debates have been agreed to by both campaigns and each has accused its rival of debate-dodging in recent days.

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On Friday, Gomez’s campaign said he had agreed to appear at debates, but did not specify which ones.

On Saturday, the Markey campaign said the congressman had agreed to the June 5 session after Gomez’s campaign had refused to sit down and negotiate a debate schedule.

Gomez, in Worcester today, said he had already agreed to the WBZ/Boston Globe debate and would “absolutely” be there.

“It’s about time [Markey] accepted the Boston Globe debate,” Gomez said.

He added that he hoped to have “at least two more” debates, “the minimum the people of Massachusetts deserve.”

Markey, in a short interview in Boston, confirmed he would participate in the June 5 debate, but would not say definitively if he would agree to two more.

“We’re trying to negotiate with him. He has not called us back in two weeks,” Markey said with exasperation in his voice.

Asked whether the Gomez campaign had been avoiding Markey’s calls, Gomez adviser Lenny Alcivar did not answer the question directly. “We got tired of waiting for them, so we negotiated directly with debate sponsors,” he said.

Markey and Gomez won their respective parties’ nominations on April 30. The special election to fill the seat formerly held by John F. Kerry is slated for June 25.

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