North Carolina’s only all-inclusive U.S. Senate debate was held on October 17 at 7 p.m. in McKnight Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The event was organized by Free the Vote North Carolina in coordination with Young Americans for Liberty of UNC Charlotte, Carolina Liberty PAC, and CAUTION.
All candidates qualified to win the election were invited to participate in the forum. Libertarian Sean Haugh and write-in candidates Barry Gurney, John Rhodes, and David Waddell did so. The Democratic and Republican candidates did not respond to Free the Vote North Carolina’s invitation.
“We hosted a debate to show the people all of their choices, not just the two ‘major party’ candidates,” said Jordon Greene, Free the Vote NC founder and president. “Just like our motto states, voting is your right and it’s your choice alone who you vote for. This debate was meant to help voters hear from all the candidates and make their own decision come election day.”
Free the Vote made several attempts to contact both Sen. Kay Hagan and House Speaker Thom Tillis, including sending a certified letter without any reply.
“We made several attempts to contact Sen. Hagan and Speaker Tillis, including sending a certified letter which we know they received,” said Greene. “We received no response from either campaign.”
“A debate that doesn’t invite all the candidates is a disservice to democracy,” said Christian Hine, who will be moderating the debate. “We should be critical of past debates which failed to include all the qualified candidates. Likewise, we should be critical of candidates who fail to even respond to legitimate requests to participate.”
Hine is president of CAUTION, the activist arm of the Charlotte Tea Party.
Sponsoring an all-inclusive debate is in keeping with the mission of Free the Vote North Carolina, which is to eliminate barriers to participation in the electoral process. The event will help give voters the information they need to vote for the person of their choice without the debate organizers making that decision for them.
The following video is is the full, unedited, debate.