LEXINGTON, Ky. — Five weeks from Tuesday, Kentuckians will vote and decide whether to send Senator Rand Paul back to Washington or to replace him with his Democratic challenger, Charles Booker.
But voters will likely not get the chance to see the two candidates go head-to-head on the debate stage.
On Monday, Kentucky Educational Television, the statewide public television network, hosted what was scheduled to be a debate between Booker and Paul.
However, the network said Paul did not respond to their invitation. So, Booker took the stage alone.
Before he went on air, Booker told WLEX that Paul's decision not to show up was "disrespectful" to voters.
"It's an affront to the democratic process. If you are running for office, you should make your case about why you believe your vision is best suited for the people," Booker said. "That's what I'm doing. That's what we're doing across the Commonwealth. That's why we're organizing. That's why I'm here tonight. He should be here too. He's not entitled to this Senate seat. It doesn't belong to him. It belongs to the people of Kentucky."
Last week, Paul told WLEX that he worries about political violence taking over civil discourse.
"I think that debates should involve civility and should involve parties that are actually willing to address questions," said Paul. "And I think that there's been a certain tenor, so far, that really involves more accepting of political violence - that I think worries me and makes me concerned."
No other U.S. Senate debate has been publicly announced, meaning Paul and Booker will likely not take the same stage to answer questions before voters cast their ballots.
Kentuckians have until Oct. 11 to register to vote on Nov. 8.