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Martinez-King TV debate confirmed

Gov. Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King are on for at least one televised debate as the candidates make their bids for the state’s top office in the November election.

The two candidates will field questions from reporters from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 19 in the live, televised KOAT-TV and Albuquerque Journal debate, the Martinez campaign confirmed on Friday.

King’s campaign previously had committed to participate in the event.

“Gov. Martinez looks forward to debating her record of reform and achievement” against King, Martinez campaign spokesman Chris Sanchez said.

King campaign manager Keith Breitbach responded, saying King is “pleased” that Martinez “has found the time and courage to debate the important issues facing New Mexicans.”

The confirmation comes as Martinez has denied or not responded to requests to participate in other scheduled debates with King.

Martinez recently gave notice to the New Mexico Press Association that she will not participate in a debate the group planned on Sept. 27, Press Association Director Philip Lucey said.

Without Martinez participating, King will be allowed to take the stage by himself, Lucey said.

Other invitations to participate in scheduled debates, including forums organized by KNME-TV and Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, have received no response from Martinez. King has confirmed plans to attend those events.

The candidates have agreed to at least one other joint event so far. Martinez and King will appear together on Sept. 22 for a candidate forum organized by NAIOP, the commercial real estate association.

But that event may fall short of putting the candidates on the spot. Forum organizers plan to provide Martinez and King the questions that will be asked during the forum more than a week in advance to give candidates a chance to prepare, NAIOP President Lynne Anderson said.

Next month, both Martinez and King plan to appear at New Mexico State University for an annual public policy conference, but there won’t be much opportunity for rebuttals.

The candidates for governor are not appearing together. Instead, they’re scheduled to speak more than four hours apart on Sept. 18.

James Monteleone: jmonteleone@abqjournal.com

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