- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - In a story Sept. 29 about U.S. Senate debates, The Associated Press reported an incorrect deadline for candidates to accept a Portland City Club debate invitation. The deadline was Sept. 25, not Oct. 25.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Wehby suggests 3 Portland debates

Under pressure over Senate debates, Republican Monica Wehby pushes for 3 in Portland

By JONATHAN J. COOPER

Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Under pressure for rejecting a debate invitation and for failing to show up for a newspaper’s endorsement interview, Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby said Monday that she’s accepting invitations for three debates in Portland.

Wehby challenged Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley to agree to the debates, sponsored by KOIN, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the City Club of Portland. The candidates have so far agreed to just one debate, on Oct. 14, which will be televised by KOBI in Medford.

A spokeswoman said Merkley’s campaign will review the schedule before deciding whether to participate in more debates. Merkley slammed Wehby on Friday for not agreeing to a Portland debate sponsored by KGW and The Oregonian, which have long held a forum in the top statewide races.

Organizers of all three debates said they extended invitations months ago. Mary Nolan, a volunteer for the City Club who was trying to organize the debate, said she had set a deadline of Sept. 25 for both candidates to respond but was unable to get a commitment.

Nolan said she was surprised to hear from Wehby’s communications director, Dean Petrone, Monday morning that he’d sent a press release agreeing to the debate after the difficulty pinning down details last week.

“We’re at a place where we have to see what we can do to see if it is fair and reasonable to both candidates to try to put a debate together after this roundabout,” said Nolan, a former Democratic state lawmaker.

KOIN News Director Kate Glover and Oregon Public Broadcasting Executive Editor Sarah Jane Rothenfluch both said they’d be happy to host a debate, but they need to finalize details soon in order to have time to work out logistics. A KOIN debate would be televised. An Oregon Public Broadcasting debate could be televised or broadcast only on the radio.

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