Election 2020 Hickenlooper Gardner debates

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, then a Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during a primary debate on June 27, 2019, in Miami. At right, then-U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner speaks at a Colorado Senate debate with incumbent Democrat Mark Udall on Oct. 15, 2014, in Denver.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, his Democratic challenger, agreed Friday to participate in a televised debate hosted by 9News, Colorado Politics and other media organizations.

The candidates in the closely watched race are set to square off at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, both campaigns confirmed. Additional sponsors include The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Rocky Mountain PBS, KRDO in Colorado Springs, KKCO and KJCT in Grand Junction, and KOBF in the Four Corners area.

Hickenlooper accepted the invitation to the Fort Collins debate in July, while Gardner agreed to take part on Friday.

In May, Gardner challenged the Democratic nominee to a series of debates, and Hickenlooper issued his own list after winning the primary, but until Friday they had only agreed on two debates — in Pueblo on Oct. 2 and in Denver an Oct. 9, the day ballots start going in the mail to Colorado voters.

“I am glad Gov. Hickenlooper has agreed to this debate after declining six others," Gardner told Colorado Politics in a statement. "Even though Hickenlooper seems to think it's all about him, his contempt for Colorado voters is now on display — it's time he answer questions about his radical agenda and egregious ethics violations."

Ammar Moussa, Hickenlooper's press secretary, said the campaign was "glad that, after more than a month of political games, Sen. Gardner has finally accepted the invitation to this important statewide debate."

"The people of Colorado will see for themselves on Oct. 13 the clear contrast between John's record of problem solving and leadership and Sen. Gardner's failure to stand up to President Trump while he botches our nation's response to Coronavirus," he said.

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