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 McConnellDemocratic challenger to Joni Ernst releases ad depicting her as firing gun at him Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days The case for censuring, and not impeaching, Donald Trump MORE (R-Ky.) accepted a debate challenge from Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Kentucky Democrat: McConnell's agenda driven by 'power without a purpose' 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 BarrMnuchin to lawmakers: 'I'm highly encouraged you will' pass Trump's North America trade deal Kentucky Democrat moves closer to McConnell challenge Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths 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.