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Hirono declines debate offer from HPU

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono on Monday declined an offer from Hawaii Pacific University to participate in a forum on Thursday between Hirono and former congressman Ed Case in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

HPU stepped forward after Oahu Democrats postponed a Hirono-Case forum that had been planned for Thursday, one of five scheduled before the August primary.

“We thank Hawaii Pacific University for its offer to host a forum for the U.S. Democratic Senatorial race,” Carolyn Tanaka, Hirono’s deputy campaign manager for communications, said in an email. “Mazie has previously announced that she looks forward to participating in five debates, an unprecedented number of debates and forums in any modern Hawaii Senate race, which includes the rescheduling of the Oahu County Democrats forum. So, we respectfully decline this offer.”

Case had accepted the HPU offer.

John Hart, an HPU communication professor, said HPU had previously offered to sponsor a forum with Hirono and Case. The Hirono campaign did not include the forum on the congresswoman’s debate schedule.

“I think debates are healthy,” Hart said. “I think they’re the last, best chance for voters to see behind the campaigns and into the candidates.”

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