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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has agreed to two debates and a candidate forum this election cycle. However, the governor has declined several other offers for debate, including one hosted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In turn, Kelly’s Republican opponent Attorney General Derek Schmidt is agreeing to three additional debates with the governor and said he’s calling on the governor to reconsider her initial refusal to participate.

“It’s no surprise Governor Kelly wants as few Kansans as possible to have a chance to hear us debate the future of our state,” Schmidt said.

“The people of Kansas deserve to be a part of this discussion, and I believe in order to do them justice we must expand the debate schedule beyond just the two on the books. I urge Governor Kelly to reconsider her refusal to participate in three more one-on-one debates that these three organizations have generously offered to put on.” 

Schmidt and Kelly are set to participate in two debates so far. The first of which will take place at the Kansas State Fair on Sept. 10. A second is set for Oct. 5 at the Johnson County Bar Association.

Kelly has ignored or refused to participate in three other debates sponsored by Nexstar Media Group that would broadcast live to a statewide television audience; the Garden City Chamber of Commerce that would take place in Western Kansas; and the Olathe, Overland Park, Leawood NAACP that would give the candidates an opportunity to focus on issues important to minority communities in Kansas. 

In a press release Tuesday, Schmidt said he would agree to five one-on-one debates with the incumbent governor. This includes a live, televised debate with Nexstar Media Group.

Last week, Kelly’s campaign declined to participate in Nexstar Media Group’s debate, stating, “Unfortunately, we must decline as we have already agreed to the debates/forums for the general election cycle.”

The question is whether Kelly’s campaign will respond. After declining last week, Nexstar Media Group organizers sent them an e-mail stating that the offer remained open to them.

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