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Tommy Battle criticizes Gov. Kay Ivey for declining invitation to debate

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle criticized Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday for having so far refused invitations to debate other candidates in the primary.

Several outlets, including and several television stations across the state, have invited all of the Republican candidates to debate before the June 5, 2018, primary.

Ivey is the only one holding out, according to a report from Huntsville’s WHNT, one of the stations that invited Ivey to a debate.

The governor’s campaign had said earlier this year that she would be open to a debate, but she has yet to publicly agree to one.

Battle said the governor should debate the other candidates in front of voters.

“I’ve extended an invitation to her to join us in sharing our vision with the people of the state of Alabama,” Battle said. “I’ve always believed people make time for things that are important to them. The people of Alabama are important to me and sharing my plan for this state with them is important to me.”

Battle in March sent Ivey a letter, inviting her to appear with him at five different planned debates and forums hosted by the Birmingham Business Journal, NBC 13 in Birmingham, the Mid-Alabama Republican Club, the Association of Builders and Contractors in Huntsville and the Moody Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Other debate requests have also been sent to the governor’s campaign team ahead of the primaries, which are less than two months away. The general election is scheduled for November.

“We will continue to commit to debates, candidate forums and events where all gubernatorial candidates are invited to share their qualifications, their record and their vision for our great state,” Battle wrote.

Ivey’s team responded to the criticisms on Tuesday.

“Is Tommy Battle applying to be Governor of Alabama, or campaign scheduler for Kay Ivey?” said Ivey’s campaign manager Mike Lukach. “Lately, it would seem the latter. While Tommy is wasting yet another week on media stunts, Kay Ivey is crisscrossing the state to share the success story of Alabama working again. This week, she advanced historic legislation that improves education for students in Alabama.”

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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