Three more debates lined up for GOP candidates for U.S. Senate seat

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The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate have three debates on the schedule between now and the primary election on May 8.

The first televised statewide debate is slated for April 15 to be hosted by WISH-TV Channel 8. All three GOP candidates—U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita and former state Rep. Mike Braun—have agreed to participate.

WISH-TV anchor Brooke Martin will moderate the debate and be one of three panelists, along with WEHT-TV Channel 25 anchor Brad Byrd and WISH-TV Statehouse Bureau Chief David Williams. It will air at 7 p.m.

In addition to WISH-TV, the debate will appear on TV stations in major cities across the state, as well as online on each channel's website.

On April 23, the Allen County Republican Party will host a debate at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Fort Wayne. It will be moderated by conservative radio host Pat Miller of WOWO-FM 107.5.

That debate will be broadcast on at least six TV stations and three radio stations, reaching markets in Fort Wayne, South Bend, Merrillville, Lafayette, Indianapolis, Muncie and Evansville.

Braun, Messer and Rokita are all confirmed to participate in that debate, as well.

But the televised statewide debate scheduled for April 30 by the nonpartisan Indiana Debate Commission is still only expected to feature Braun and Messer.

It’s the first time in the commission’s 10-year history that a candidate has declined to participate in one of its debates. Since the 2008 election season, the commission has broadcast 18 statewide debates.

Rokita’s campaign has said the congressman won’t participate in a debate unless it is organized and moderated by conservative Republicans.

The moderator for the Indiana Debate Commission will be Indiana politics blogger, radio host and attorney Abdul Hakim-Shabazz. The debate is scheduled to be at 7 p.m. in a WFYI-TV Channel 20 studio.

Conservative group Americans For Prosperity organized the first GOP primary debate on Feb. 20, which was broadcast on WIBC-FM 93.1 and streamed on AFP’s Facebook page. Conservative radio host Tony Katz moderated the debate. All three candidates participated.

Braun, Messer and Rokita are running to determine who will take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly in November.

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