Late on Sunday night, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Ronchetti announced that his Democrat opponent Rep. Ben Ray Luján had finally agreed to debate him, albeit not in-studio. Luján will appear via remote video conference, whereas Ronchetti and the Libertarian candidate will appear in-person to flesh out the issues facing New Mexico in this election.
Ronchetti wrote on Twitter, “DEBATE UPDATE: I’m excited @BenRayLujan agreed to participate in the @KOB debate tomorrow night. While he has chosen to not be in studio with me and join virtually instead, there will still be stark differences in our visions for New Mexico. Tune in at 6, tomorrow night. #NMsen”
The move by Luján to finally accept the KOB 4 debate offer comes after weeks of dodging televised debates with Ronchetti, a former television weatherman, who has vast experience appearing on-camera while he worked for KRQE 13 News.
Ronchetti has been pushing Luján for months to take to the date stage, providing the precedent from former U.S. Senate races to back up his argument that the opponents should appear at debates. Luján’s spokesman claimed, “an early October debate would detract from [Luján’s work on behalf of New Mexicans.”
With Luján appearing virtually, Ronchetti will have the opportunity to show New Mexicans his vision for the state while Luján, who will likely appear via video conference in Washington, D.C., may come off as out-of-touch with New Mexicans. Luján has been in Congress for nearly 12 years and has not passed a single piece of legislation in his name.
The debate will be aired Monday at 6:00 P.M. MDT on KOB 4 News.