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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday challenged his Democratic competitor, Amy McGrath, to a "socially distanced, Lincoln-Douglas style debate" with "no notes at the table, no props and no audience."
Why it matters: McConnell has held a steady lead over McGrath in most polling for the race, adding a layer of intrigue over his request.
- McConnell is a fundraising giant, and most prognosticators believe he'll hold onto his seat in November.
- Cook Political Report rates the race as "likely Republican," and the latest Quinnipiac poll showed McConnell ahead by 5 points.
What he's saying: McConnell argued, "While the coronavirus campaign has changed how we campaign in 2020, it is my view that any plans to hold in-person debates between the two of us should not be impacted."
- "Before casting their ballots this November, Kentuckians deserve the opportunity to compare us side-by-side as we share our competing visions for Kentucky's long-term prosperity."
The big picture: Debates without an audience look set to be the norm amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders did a trial run of this method in March with a head-to-head debate in a television studio near the tail end of their Democratic primary battle.