Kevin O’Connor accuses Ed Markey of being ‘afraid’ of more debates

Republican Senate candidate Kevin O’Connor blasted U.S. Sen. Edward Markey for ignoring his demand for seven debates ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

“Is he afraid of me?” O’Connor said Monday. “Why is he avoiding debate?”

The pair have a single hour-long debate on the books, scheduled for Oct. 5 at GBH headquarters in Brighton. O’Connor is asking for seven — the same number afforded to primary challenger U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III ahead of the Nov. 3 election. That would add up to about a debate a week if Markey accepts.

“Sen. Markey and I, as everyone knows, have substantive disagreements. We live at a time of crisis. We deserve from our leaders — at a minimum — transparency and responsible dialogue. Sen. Markey has that opportunity in this election and he has that obligation to the people of Massachusetts and the taxpayers of Massachusetts,” O’Connor said, making his pitch standing in front of the Malden Public Library — the very spot where Markey claimed his primary victory earlier this month.

Markey campaign press secretary Liz Vlock on Monday said the incumbent senator “is looking forward to having a substantive debate” as scheduled with O’Connor next month. It will more than likely be the only time the two candidates go toe-to-toe.

Markey campaign manager John Walsh called it the “final” debate of the election in a statement issued late last week after the GBH debate was announced and stated that Markey “always debates his opponents.”

“Sen. Markey is afraid to engage with me,” O’Connor said on Monday, calling the Malden Democrat “unworthy of his position and unworthy of the people of Massachusetts.”

O’Connor drew differences in the candidates’ approach to policing, saying he will be “backing our police not defunding our police” as Markey has committed to do.

O’Connor even agreed to make one of those debates a full-hour focused on Markey’s core issue: The Green New Deal.

“I agree that our environment — a safe climate — is absolutely critical and … what I’ll demonstrate to the people of Massachusetts is that that plan is not a plan. It’s a terrible idea that would involve a massive tax increase.”

The Dover father of four calls himself the “common-sense candidate.” A lawyer by trade, this is O’Connor’s first time running for office of any kind.

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