9NEWS will televise two separate one-hour debates in Colorado’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate in 2016.
The debates are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 and Tuesday, June 7 in partnership with the Lincoln Club of Colorado, which will provide organizational support.
Each debate will be broadcast live to viewers in a commercial-free hour on Channel 20 (KTVD) and 9NEWS.com.
The first debate takes place just days before the state GOP convention in Colorado Springs, where delegates can support up to three candidates for the June primary ballot.
The Lincoln Club, Colorado’s oldest Republican organization, will provide support and outreach to the campaigns. 9NEWS journalists will have full editorial control of the debate, format, and questions.
The debates will be moderated by 9NEWS anchor Kyle Clark and political reporter Brandon Rittiman, who were recognized with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism for their series of debates in the 2014 elections.
Several of the most prominent Republican politicians in Colorado opted not to challenge incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) on the November ballot, leading to a crowded field of more than a dozen candidates competing for attention, money, and voter support in the state GOP.
The first debate on April 5 will be open to all candidates deemed viable by a panel of political experts assembled by 9NEWS.
Candidates who do not qualify for the debate will be given the opportunity to record a video message to be published on 9NEWS.com and to be mentioned during the debate broadcast.
The June 7 debate will be open to every Senate candidate who qualifies for the GOP primary ballot in June.
Candidates can earn ballot placement via the state GOP convention or by gathering petition signatures to be certified by the Secretary of State.
The state convention is Saturday April 9. The primary election is Tuesday June 28, with ballots mailed out to voters starting on June 6.