McConnell accepts Democratic rep's challenge to 5 debates

McConnell accepts Democratic rep's challenge to 5 debates
© Aaron Schwartz

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatient advocates launch drug pricing ad campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs War of words at the White House MORE (R-Ky.) accepted a debate challenge from Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthOn The Money: Trump signs stopgap spending bill | Shutdown fight delayed to November | Deutsche Bank reveals it has two individual tax returns tied to House subpoena | House Dems demand documents on Ukraine aid It's time to axe the unjust 'widow's tax' House Democrats demand White House turn over docs on Ukraine aid MORE (D-Ky.) on Tuesday after the congressman hinted that he was interested in a possible bid for McConnell's seat.

Yarmuth told a Kentucky news station he would enter the race for Senate if McConnell agreed to a series of debates. In a tweet, McConnell's staff responded to Yarmuth's challenge, asking when the congressman would officially announce his candidacy for Senate.

"If Mitch McConnell would agree to debate me five times in public, I’d do it," Yarmuth told local ABC affiliate WHAS11.

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"Accepted," responded McConnell's team, adding: "When is the announcement?"

A spokesperson for Yarmuth indicated to The Hill in an email that Yarmuth was merely joking about McConnell's own record of supposedly failing to meet with constituents, and indicated that the congressman had no announcement about a Senate bid to make at this time.

McConnell, the longtime Senate GOP leader who enjoys strong support from his own party in the state, currently faces an announced challenge for his seat from Amy McGrath, a Marine Corps veteran who narrowly lost the midterm to incumbent GOP Rep. Andy BarrAndy Hale BarrTensions flare as Democrats urge consumer bureau to boost penalties The Hill's Campaign Report: Impeachment fight to take center stage at Dem debate McGrath raises nearly million in third quarter for bid to unseat McConnell MORE in the Republican stronghold district.

Yarmuth, a 12-year veteran of the House, currently serves as the chairman of the House Budget Committee and represents the Louisville area of the state.

Updated at 2:55 p.m.