Politics & Government

SCETV won’t televise SC’s fall election debates

South Carolina’s public broadcasting network will not televise debates between S.C. candidates ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.

SCETV made the editorial decision Monday – not long after receiving a request to televise a planned 2nd District debate between U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, and Columbia librarian Arik Bjorn.

“The main thing is our own resources and our staffing,” said Tom Posey, SCETV’s director of news and public affairs. He added the decision might have been different if the state had a series of “highly competitive” general election races.

Bjorn said he “couldn’t be more disappointed” in the decision but said he is confident “another media outlet will come forward.”

“Congressman Wilson always looks for any opportunity to discuss community issues,” his campaign manager, Brielle Appelbaum, said.

Posey emphasized the network had not declined a specific debate, but had chosen to avoid debate coverage altogether. That is common in election cycles without gubernatorial races, he said.

The network in June covered a GOP primary debate between U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford of Charleston and state Rep. Jenny Horne of Dorchester.

“The primaries are generally more fertile ground for debate in South Carolina,” Posey said.

The network still will carry special programming on election night.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks