Democrat Elizabeth Warren today agreed to debate Senator Scott Brown on the radio, answering the Republican’s challenge to her but also putting pressure on him to accept two regional TV debates she has been seeking.
The two candidates will be meeting on WTKK-FM at a date they must still negotiate. The debate will be moderated by Jim Braude, a former Cambridge city councilor, and Margery Eagan, a liberal columnist at the Boston Herald.
They co-host a popular morning program that is Governor Deval Patrick’s chosen venue for the Democrat’s monthly radio appearance.
The agreement came a day after Brown and Warren squared off from afar, he appearing on WBZ-AM, she on MSNBC.
Warren refused to debate Brown on the radio Wednesday night after he rejected a TV debate proposed by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. He held the seat that Brown now holds and Warren is seeking to reclaim for the Democrats.
While the candidates have agreed to four televised debates in late summer and early fall that will air in the Greater Boston and Springfield media markets, they have clashed relentlessly at the margins.
Brown has lambasted Warren for not accepting the two additional radio debates he did, saying she was trying to “duck” him after clamoring for the meetings.
Warren has criticized Brown for unilaterally accepting invitations, and for not accepting two more TV debates proposed by regional hosts in Worcester and New Bedford. Challengers often seek the maximum number of debates to increase their free air time.
The Brown campaign fueled her complaints after it rejected the Warren campaign’s request to jointly sort through the invitations and negotiate a debate schedule.
That prompted Warren to claim that the senator is trying to cherry-pick his venues and hosts.
Today, after Brown had an hour of free air time Wednesday on WBZ with “Nightside” host Dan Rea, who often expresses conservative views, Warren accepted the other remaining radio debate invitation from the more liberal hosts on WTKK-FM.
It, too, will be an hour long, but, unlike WBZ, uninterrupted by commercials.
“Elizabeth looks forward to talking about the issues on the Jim & Margery Show. She and Brown have very different visions for the Commonwealth,” said Warren campaign manager Mindy Myers. “This forum will provide voters with an opportunity to hear more about their very different priorities.”
Nonetheless, Myers made a continued case for the two regional TV debates, which Brown has repeatedly said he will not accept. He did not indicate a change of mind today.
“Elizabeth believes voters across the Commonwealth should have the opportunity to hear from the candidates on issues important to them,” Myers said in her statement. “We hope Scott Brown will join us so that voters in central Massachusetts and the South Coast can see where the two candidates stand on local and regional issues.”
Brown spokeswoman Alleigh Marre replied: “It didn’t look good for Elizabeth Warren to skip the first debate of the campaign. She obviously has had a change of mind and we’re pleased that she will now be attending the next debate. Voters deserve to know more about Professor Warren’s extremely liberal views, her support of higher taxes, and more debt and how that would hurt jobs and throw a damper over the economy.”