The Republican front runner in the race for U.S. Senate – former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown – will not take part in a debate in Merrimack tonight with his primary challengers.
Brown did not participate in a debate in Bedford in April, and other organizations have said he has declined their invitations.
Merrimack Business Association Chairman Dave McCray says former U.S. Senator Bob Smith and former state Senator Jim Rubens have committed to his group’s forum tonight.
And McCray says while Brown has no obligation to take part, his absence means the audience won’t get to hear from all the candidates.
“As a New Hampshire citizen, I find it disappointing that he’s not going to do it the way everyone else does it,” McCray said. “As an individual, I feel his thought is he’s already won it and that his eye on the prize is Senator Shaheen.”
A campaign spokeswoman says Brown had a scheduling conflict for the Merrimack event, but says he’ll take part in a Senate candidate forum on Friday hosted by WMUR.
Brown will debate his opponents again on Sept. 4, leading up to the primary on Sept. 9.
The winner will take on incumbent Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen in the November election.
UPDATE: Brown's campaign announced Wednesday that he would be taking part in two more primary debates: the Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council Debate and New Hampshire Today on WGIR radio with Jack Heath and John DiStaso.