by Web on October 2, 2018
An October 4 debate between candidates in the special election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Senator Thad Cochran will not happen. The debate had been scheduled to occur on the campus of Millsaps College, and the decision to cancel was made after an announcement on September 28 by the Mike Espy campaign to pull out of the debate because of the absence of Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. Hyde-Smith had not committed to the debate, citing scheduling issues with the Senate calendar as a likely obstacle to her participation.
Soon after the announcement from the Espy campaign, Mississippi Public Broadcasting issued a statement that they would not broadcast the debate, stating that "with only two of the four candidates committed to attend, it has become clear to us that the debate, as planned, would not achieve our initial goals of providing civic engagement to our statewide audience where all candidate views would have been heard."
Representatives from Millsaps College reached out to the campaigns of State Senator Chris McDaniel and Tobey Bartee to discuss options, but it became clear that hosting a debate with only two candidates was not a viable option.
"It's unfortunate that this debate is not going to happen," said Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps College. "We will work to create other opportunities for voters to hear from candidates for elected office about important issues of the day."