WBA Foundation sets candidate criteria for primary debates

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The WBA Foundation has set criteria to determine which candidates will participate in live debates televised statewide in the Democratic primary in the race for the Governor of Wisconsin and the Republican primary in the race for a Wisconsin U.S. Senate seat.

The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate will debate Saturday, July 21 at 7 p.m. in Wausau. The Democratic candidates for governor will debate Friday, July 27 at 7 p.m. in Madison. Both will be broadcast to a statewide audience. Broadcasters in the Madison and Wausau/Rhinelander markets will participate in the debate.

It is the WBA Foundation’s goal to provide a forum to help educate voters on the issues in these campaigns and provide for a good exchange of ideas between the most significant candidates for each office.

To foster such a debate, given the constraints of time and space for a televised debate, the WBA Foundation will invite no more than four candidates to each debate.

The WBA Foundation will therefore invite the most significant candidates in each race based on the following criteria:

  • Up to the top four (4) candidates in the Democratic gubernatorial race and Republican U.S. Senate race in the Marquette University Law School Poll (the Poll) released closest to the date of the debate will be considered as significant candidates if the other criteria set forth below are met.
    • In the event that there is a tie in the Poll for the final positions in the debate, the selection among those candidates tied in the polling will be made based on which of these candidates have raised the most campaign funds according to the state and federal campaign finance reports released closest to the date of the debate.
  • All candidates must be qualified for the office that they seek under federal and state law and shall either have (1) qualified for a place on the ballot or (2) demonstrated that they are bone fide write-in candidates through criteria including making appearances at rallies and campaign events statewide, having taken established positions, and provided campaign literature on a wide array of public issues, and having a substantial campaign organization including offices statewide.
  • Candidates who have not raised at least $250,000 campaign funds according to state and federal campaign finance reports released closest to the date of the debate will not be considered significant candidates.

The WBA Foundation reserves the right to update debate criteria, locations, and other factors as needed.

The WBA Foundation plans to hold debates for the general election candidates in the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. Details of those debates will be announced at a later date.

The primary election will be held on Aug. 14.

Questions or inquiries about the debate should be directed to debate@wbafoundation.org.