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Is Roberts backing out of debates with Peacock?

Mayoral candidates, left, Edwin Peacock and Jennifer Roberts wait their turn to speak during a Pancakes and Politics forum hosted by The Charlotte Post in August.
Mayoral candidates, left, Edwin Peacock and Jennifer Roberts wait their turn to speak during a Pancakes and Politics forum hosted by The Charlotte Post in August. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

Republican Edwin Peacock sent out a press release Saturday saying Democrat Jennifer Roberts had declined or backed out of two Charlotte mayoral debates – one on Time Warner Cable News 14 and one on WDYT-1220 AM. It seems that was part true, part not.

“After assurances to TWC News 14 that she would appear, Jennifer Roberts declined to face Peacock in a debate,” Peacock’s release said. “Roberts also backed out of a debate with Peacock just before it was scheduled to happen on 1220 AM WDYT radio on Friday.”

The first part of that appears to be accurate. The second appears to be an exaggeration.

In an email to the Peacock campaign last Tuesday, TWC News Director Jim Newman said: “I just heard from the Roberts camp. Despite their assurances that they would appear on a debate with us after the 2nd primary, they are again declining the invitation.”

So it appears Peacock was accurate about Roberts declining a debate at News 14 after assurances otherwise.

And on 1220 AM?

The station’s Gisela Garcia says “the possibility was high” that Roberts would visit the station last Friday for an interview. At the last minute, the station told Roberts that Peacock could be there at the same time for a debate. Then the Roberts campaign said it had another commitment and was not interested in a debate on WDYT.

“She said she was interested in an interview with her, but not a debate with Edwin Peacock,” Garcia said, because she was preparing for other debates. Roberts did an earlier interview with WDYT on Oct. 5.

So Roberts didn’t “back out” of that debate because she never agreed to it in the first place.

Roberts has agreed to other debates, including one hosted by the Observer and WBTV this Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Spirit Square. -- Taylor Batten

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