Congressman Todd Rokita won’t participate in a GOP primary debate organized by the nonpartisan Indiana Debate Commission.
The commission announced Friday the televised debate will take place April 30 between Congressman Luke Messer and former state representative Mike Braun.
Rokita, the third person vying to challenge Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly this fall, declined the invitation.
Rokita is the first candidate to skip one of the commission’s debates in its 10-year history.
The commission says Rokita’s campaign cited scheduling conflicts…and said the Republican lawmaker will only participate in debates organized and moderated by conservative Republicans.
Commission President Gerry Lanosga says the commission wants to provide voters with as much information as possible.
“You know our goal is to have every candidate who is on the ballot participating in our events, and to the extent that that doesn’t happen then I think the voters are cheated to some degree.”
The commission’s GOP primary debate will be moderated by conservative commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz (sha-BOZZ).
Lanosga says the campaign indicated if Rokita gets the GOP nomination, he will participate in debates leading up to the general election in November.