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 McConnellRosenstein steps back into GOP crosshairs Biden to deliver remarks in Philadelphia Tuesday on nationwide protests Senate Republicans urge Trump to tone down rhetoric on protests MORE (R-Ky.) accepted a debate challenge from Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthRep slams 'vulgar images' and 'racist words' that disrupted virtual youth anti-violence event Unemployment to remain above 9 percent into 2021: CBO Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left 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 BarrHouse GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 Put entrepreneurs, workers and flexibility in next stimulus package McCarthy unveils new GOP-led China task force 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.