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Senate debate planned

Staff Reports • Updated Nov 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Cumberland University and the League of Women Voters of Tennessee partnered recently to hold a debate next year on Cumberland’s historic Lebanon campus between the state’s Republican and Democrat nominees who seek election to the U.S. Senate.

Paul Stumb, Cumberland’s president, and Marian Ott, president of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, made the joint announcement and said the debate will be a service to voters statewide.

“We anticipate a very spirited and informative debate between the candidates that will be beneficial to all Tennesseans,” Stumb said. “This will be a pivotal election for our country, and our organizations want to play our parts to ensure Tennesseans are informed.”

“We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to work with Cumberland on such an important event,” Ott said, noting the university’s 176-year history of producing graduates who have had distinguished careers in public service.

Ott also said the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization with chapters and members across the state, is often the host of political debates and frequently partners with other organizations in its efforts to help inform Tennessee voters and encourage their participation in elections.

 Stumb said the debate would take place prior to early voting. He said a specific date would be determined later in the election cycle. The general election is Nov. 6, 2018, with early voting set to start Oct. 17.

Stumb said plans call for the debate to be aired on television statewide.

Cumberland, a private independent university founded in 1842, has a distinguished list of alumni that includes Cordell Hull, the longest serving secretary of state in U.S. history; 16 U.S. senators; 21 state governors; two U.S. Supreme Court justices and more than 50 members of the U.S. House.

Stumb said the university’s students continue to be instilled with the core values consistent with shaping young men and women into productive citizens who are dedicated to community and public service.

“This was a big part of Cumberland’s mission in 1842 and continues to be part of our mission today. Having such a major political debate on our campus will be an excellent learning opportunity for our students and a way to inform all of Tennessee’s residents about the candidates seeking to represent them in the Senate,” he said.

Two Republicans and one Democrat have announced plans to run for the Senate seat to be vacated by Republican Sen. Bob Corker, although others from both political parties are said to be considering a race for the post.

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and former Congressman Stephen Fincher have announced plans to run for the office on the Republican side of the ballot. Only one Democrat, James Mackler, a Nashville attorney who livesin Williamson County, has formally announced his candidacy. Others listed as possible candidates for the office include former Democratic Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who served two terms as the state’s chief executive.

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