The final televised debate between Georgia gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams (D) and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) has been canceled after the Republican candidate’s eleventh-hour decision to pull out of the Sunday forum. Kemp will be campaigning that day with President Donald Trump in the city of Macon instead.
Abrams and Kemp, who are running neck-and-neck in the hotly contested race, blamed the other for the cancellation, which organizer WSB-TV confirmed on Wednesday.
“We regret that we had to cancel, but once Secretary Kemp pulled out at the last minute, the candidates could not agree to a new time,” Misti Turnbull, WSB’s news director, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In a blistering statement, Abrams suggested Kemp was callously “breaking promises” to Georgians, while a spokesman for Kemp said that Abrams had been “offered multiple days, times and venues” as alternatives for their dialogue but she was “ducking Georgia voters because she can’t defend her extreme, radical agenda on live television.”
The debate, which would have marked the second time Kemp and Abrams faced off on live TV, had been scheduled to air on WSB at 5 p.m. Sunday. The date and time for the forum had reportedly been determined more than six weeks ago.
WSB told The New York Times on Wednesday that Kemp’s campaign had informed it of the need to reschedule “within the past 24 hours.” The request had come on the heels of the announcement that Trump was planning a rally in Macon an hour before the debate was scheduled to take place.
Kemp reportedly suggested rescheduling the debate to Monday night, but Abrams said she had already made plans to meet with voters in southeastern Georgia at that time.
“We are disappointed that the Kemp campaign is demanding we renege on our promises,” her campaign said in a statement. “We refuse to callously take Georgians for granted and cancel on them. Just because Brian Kemp breaks his promises doesn’t mean anyone else should.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.