- Associated Press - Friday, September 5, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - Republican Doug Ducey has agreed to five debates with Democrat Fred Duval as they face off in the race for Arizona governor, but DuVal campaign officials said Friday they wanted at least nine events.

The debates kick off next week in Chandler, with the last one scheduled Oct. 14.

DuVal wanted many more debates and accused Ducey’s camp of avoiding events intended to inform the public.

“There is a trend that goes back to the primary of him ducking out of debates at the last minute, and unfortunately it’s continuing in the general,” said Geoff Vetter, DuVal’s spokesman.

Melissa DeLaney, a spokeswoman for Ducey, said his campaign received dozens of requests and believes “the debates we’ve chosen represent a reasonable number of opportunities for Arizona voters to hear from each of the candidates about the issues important to them.”

Vetter was referring to a pair of debates in the final two weeks of the primary election campaign that Ducey did not attend. A pair of events DuVal had committed to attend after the Aug. 26 primary election were cancelled, he said.

DeLaney said scheduling conflicts led Ducey to skip the primary events and that Ducey had never committed to the post-primary events.

“You can’t say we’re ducking out on something we’ve never committed to,” DeLaney said. “We look forward to debating with Fred many times in the coming 10 weeks or so.”

At least two of the debates will be televised, including one on Sept. 29 sponsored by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, O’Connor House and Arizona PBS. That event will feature Ducey, DuVal, Libertarian Barry Hess and Americans Elect Party nominee John Mealer. Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons will moderate the 6 p.m. debate.

“This is the only debate the people of Arizona have actually voted for - we think this is a significant thing,” said Tom Collins, executive director of the commission.

Vetter said DuVal has committed to attending nine candidate forums so far, with hopes that Ducey would attend as well.

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