Democrat Wes Moore and Republican Dan Cox have agreed to debate the key issues of Maryland’s gubernatorial race at a Maryland Public Television event.

The debate, scheduled for Oct. 12, according to an email from Moore’s campaign, is slated to be the first time the candidates will face off. Both candidates had expressed interest in multiple public debates.

Moore and Cox are the leading candidates in the Nov. 8 election to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Nominees from the Green, Working Class and Libertarian parties are also on the ballot.

MPT has frequently hosted political debates in high-profile races, including for this year’s gubernatorial primary candidates. The station’s editorial policy states that candidates must demonstrate “significant voter interest and support” in order to be invited to a debate; this is defined as candidates who receive at least 10% in a reliable nonpartisan general election poll.

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Libertarian candidate David Lashar said he was not invited to the poll and that any candidate on the ballot should also be on the stage.

“I cannot bear self-proclaimed champions of democracy engaging in blatant hypocrisy,” he said. In the last gubernatorial election, Libertarian nominee Shawn Quinn received 0.6% of the vote. Quinn received 1.5% in the 2014 governor’s race.

MPT’s director of communications Tom Williams said the station will work with media partner WBAL to produce the debate. He declined to share further information.

In a statement, Moore said he looks forward to the opportunity to contrast his platform with Cox’s far-right agenda. “The stakes of this election could not be more clear,” he said. “If Dan Cox wins, he will ban abortion, undermine our free and fair election system, and defund our public schools.”

Cox said in a statement that he is glad Moore accepted an invitation to debate with him. “I look forward to letting the voters of Maryland see the candidates live, in person and unfiltered,” he said.

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Emily Sullivan covers Baltimore City Hall. She joined the Banner after three years at WYPR, where she won multiple awards for her radio stories on city politics and culture. She previously reported for NPR’s national airwaves, focusing on business news and breaking news. 

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