Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath is challenging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE (R-Ky.) to three debates, in response to his proposal for one faceoff before the November election.
McGrath, a former Marine combat pilot, said one debate should address health care, with a second focused on the economy. She did not specify a topic for a potential third debate.
"I welcome debating you face-to-face to ensure Kentuckians can hear real solutions for the crisis ahead. In the spirit of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, I am calling for three debates to be held in different regions so voters across the commonwealth have the opportunity to hear from the candidates," McGrath wrote in a letter to McConnell on Thursday.
"The debates should focus on issues that are most important to Kentuckians during this national emergency," she added.
McConnell on Wednesday challenged McGrath to a "socially distanced, Lincoln-Douglas style debate" that would be televised statewide.
Asked about McGrath's invitation for three debates, McConnell spokeswoman Katharine Cooksey noted that the GOP leader has previously accepted an invitation to the Kentucky Farm Bureau forum and on Thursday accepted an invitation from Gray Television for a debate against McGrath.
“Senator McConnell has now accepted two debates and encourages the McGrath campaign to do the same. Kentuckians are much more interested in hearing from each candidate about the issues than an ongoing argument about the terms which make Amy McGrath comfortable enough to show up," Cooksey said.
A spokesperson for McGrath didn't immediately respond to a question about whether they were accepting the Gray TV debate.
McConnell is running for his seventh term in the Senate, where he's been the GOP leader since 2007 and the majority leader since 2015.
He is viewed as the favorite to win and political handicappers rate the race as "likely" Republican. He won his 2014 race by 15.5 percentage points.
But polling has indicated that the race could be tight. While a Morning Consult poll released in early August showed McConnell with a 17-point lead, a Quinnipiac University poll released days later had McConnell leading McGrath by just 5 points — 49 percent to 44 percent.