Will Governor McKee skip the debates?

This is growing speculation that Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee may try to reach the September 13, 2022  Democrat primary without taking the debate stage and taking part in a televised debate. A source close to the McKee campaign claims the Governor ( who has not been happy has not been with his media coverage)  has not agreed to take part in any local TV debates. The source claims the McKee camp has a developed two different strategies  telling local media that they will “wait and see” how the coverage is over the next few months. If they feel the coverage is fair, Governor McKee will debate. If the “coverage remains the same,” then why enter into hostile territory? The second school of thought is claiming the Governor could be cleared in his current FBI probe and want to wait and see how that plays out. McKee basically told off the media recently when asked about his administration being the subject of an FBI probe and how he feels his success has not been fairly reported. The risk local TV faces is playing along with the McKee campaign and getting stiffed in late August or September. The local station that has put the most effort into debates the past few years has been WPRI-CH 12, that has gone to great lengths to execute political debates. The local media outlet McKee blames for many of his problems happens to be…WPRI, even basically blaming them for his FBI probe. Would CH12 do a PPAC debate with the candidates for Governor without McKee, but instead an empty podium? The McKee campaign says that there will be no late August or early September debate if that happens. The McKee campaign feels that if the election were held today, the Governor wins easily. So why give his opponents any opportunity to get attention and change the dynamic of the race? Why give Matt Brown 90 minutes to fire away and take shots at McKee as a corrupt guy with an FBI probe? Why stand on stage and answer questions about the ILO group, Tony Silva and the $3,000 state worker bonuses for 90 minutes with no escape? Governor McKee has started to bring a crowd of speakers to press events to take up time and distract. In the past, CH12 did two debates before the primary. In 2010, Patrick Lynch took part in a debate in June and pulled out of the race in July. The clock is running on any spring debate.

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A major question that is puzzling is the silence of the other candidates. Why has Nellie remain so content with no debates? Matt Brown slept outside on Smith Hill but so far is mum on debating McKee. Helena Foulkes needs the debate stage to try and jumpstart her campaign but so far just silence. The McKee campaign would be thrilled to delay any serious talk of a debate until August when the state goes on vacation.