We’re just one short month until Election Day, and so far, voters haven’t seen our candidates for U.S. Senate on the same stage. That will change on Friday, October 2, when Sen. Cory Gardner and former Gov. John Hickenlooper square off for the first of three debates and one candidate forum scheduled to take place this month.
Like much of the senate race, the debate over when, where, and even if the candidates would debate has been quite contentious. For months, the campaigns have danced around a conclusive schedule, with each candidate refusing to commit to dates the other candidate signed on for.
Gardner proposed a series of debates in May, even before the June 30 primary election to determine who the Democratic nominee would be. In July, 10 weeks after Gardner proffered his list, Hickenlooper released his own schedule, but only one date—October 2—lined up with Gardner’s. Eventually, the pair agreed to two additional dates.
So what can Coloradans expect from these events? Well, if you caught Hick’s performance in last year’s presidential debates or the primary debates against his opponent Andrew Romanoff, this isn’t exactly his forté. Gardner, on the other hand, is more comfortable on the debate stage, even as he masterfully avoids giving a direct answer to questions that don’t appeal to him.
This is a close race—FiveThirtyEight currently has Hickenlooper with a slight lead over Gardner, 48 to 39 percent—and is constantly dubbed one to watch by the national media, so expect some sparks to fly. Whatever happens, it’s likely we’ll see highlights from the debates pop up in future political ads by both candidates—because we need more of those.
Here’s when and where to watch the drama unfold:
Friday, October 2 at 7 p.m.
Where: Pueblo Community College
Hosted by: The Pueblo Chieftain
How to watch: This debate will be streamed online, and also aired on public access television on Friday and throughout the month of October.
Friday, October 9 at 5 p.m.
Where: Denver7 studios, Denver
Hosted by: The Denver Post, Colorado Public Radio, and Denver7
How to watch: Denver7 will broadcast the first hour of the debate live (it’s scheduled to run for 90 minutes), and all three outlets will stream it online.
Tuesday, October 13 at 6 p.m.
Where: Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Hosted by: 9News, Colorado Politics, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Rocky Mountain PBS, and several local news stations across the state.
How to watch: The debate will be televised statewide on 9News and the local stations and streamed online.
Thursday, October 15 at 10 a.m.
Where: Virtual candidate forum
Hosted by: The Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation
How to watch: This forum will focus on issues for Colorado’s business community; Register online to attend
Editor’s note, 10/12/20: This article was updated with information about the candidate forum hosted by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation.