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AZ-Sen: Debate plans discussed for Senate candidates Democrat Sinema and Republican McSally

Arizona U.S. Senate candidates, Republican Martha McSally (left) and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema are vying for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona (Chip Somodevilla(left) and Alex Wong (right)/Getty Images)

Arizona Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema has challenged Republican rival Martha McSally to two televised debates during their general election campaigns.

How did this come about?

Sinema sent a one-page letter to McSally that stated it would be good for Arizonians to hear them discuss key issues.

She suggested the two debates be televised, streamed live online, and simulcast in Spanish, the Arizona Republic reported. She also says they should be hosted by local media outlets and moderated by Arizona reporters.

Other plans call for having one debate in Tuscon and the other in Phoenix, the state’s two largest media markets, according to the report. One of the debates will likely focus on health care. Sinema wrote that she picked that topic because it’s one she hears about the most.

"Whether it's protecting affordable, quality health insurance; getting our veterans the care they deserve; ensuring all Arizonans have the opportunity to succeed; or keeping Americans safe at home and abroad — these are the issues Arizonans care about most and they deserve to know our plans to address them," she wrote.

How did McSally respond?

A McSally spokesperson, Torunn Sinclair, said the congresswoman "is excited to debate Kyrsten this fall. Arizonans deserve to know where both candidates stand."

Sinclair did not specifically address the proposed terms for the debates.

Health care is an issue that's also important to McSally.

Last year, she year worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to revamp the health care exchanges. McSally has also worked on issues relating to the nation's opioid crisis. In July, she introduced the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Best Practices Act in response to the opioid epidemic.

The 52-year-old McSally is a two-term congresswoman from Tucson and the first woman to fly in combat in the U.S. Air Force.

Sinema, 42, is a three-term congresswoman from Phoenix. She served in the state Legislature before moving to Capitol Hill.

Have they debated each other before?

Both candidates declined to debate each other during the primary election. The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, Arizona PBS and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University held a debate on Aug. 15, 2018.

The candidates were criticized that they did not give voters a chance to hear them debate the issues. But the move was apparently a smart one for both Sinema and McSally as they avoided giving their competitors a chance to gain more visibility.

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