NET announces U.S. Senate debate; Democrats criticize selection of participants

August 24, 2020 - 5:39pm

NET announced Monday it will broadcast a U.S. Senate debate, but who will take the stage that night was immediately criticized by the Nebraska Democratic Party.

NET News invited Sen. Ben Sasse, the Republican incumbent, and  Democratic opponent Chris Janicek, who remains on the November ballot.

However, after Janicek’s victory in the primary election, a former campaign staffer complained that he had sent inappropriate sexually explicit group texts  about her. The Democratic Party urged Janicek to drop out. He refused. Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb said Monday the party now intends to ask people to write-in the name of former 2nd District Congressman Brad Ashford. She criticized NET’s debate plans.

“We live in very unconventional political times right now. And Chris Janicek, just like Donald Trump, has violated all sorts of political norms. And we believe that if NET’s purpose is to inform voters on the potential candidates that they can vote for this November, that our write-in candidate, the only candidate that is endorsed by the Democratic Party, should be on that stage,” Kleeb said.

In response, NET General Manager Mark Leonard pointed to the fact that NET’s debate guidelines, in place since 2014 and posted on the network’s website, require that for candidates to be eligible to participate in debates, they must be legally qualified and certified by the Nebraska Secretary of State to be on the ballot.

The debate is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. Central and will be carried live on NET Television and Radio, and livestreamed on




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