LEXINGTON, Ky. — What could be the only debate between U.S. Senate candidates Mitch McConnell and Amy McGrath is Monday night.

What You Need To Know

  • McConnell and McGrath set to debate Monday

  • McGrath made requests to include third-party candidatate and female moderator

  • McGrath also wants everyone to be tested for COVID

  • WKYT is hosting the debate


Up until earlier this month, neither side could agree on debate terms: McGrath wanted Libertarian candidate Brad Barron to participate and wanted a woman moderator, but neither will happen.

Now, McGrath wants McConnell and everyone else at the debate tested beforehand, making the request to host-station WKYT Lexington on Friday.

In a statement Sunday, McGrath spokesman Terry Sebastian said McConnell’s behavior has been reckless.

“Unfortunately, Sen. Mitch McConnell refuses to say if he’s recently gotten a test for COVID-19, despite being in close contact with several people who tested positive for the virus,” Sebastian said. “CDC guidelines clearly state that those exposed to the virus should self-quarantine and be tested, but Sen. McConnell continues to appear throughout Kentucky with no mask and no regard for the people he may be exposing.”

At events attended by Spectrum News 1, McConnell has been wearing masks and only removed it when he was speaking.

A follow-up question to Sebastian over email asking him if McGrath plans to pull out of Monday's debate if McConnell does not honor the request has not been answered.

McConnell mostly dodged questions about when he was last tested during media stops the past several days in Kentucky, saying only he was following the advice of the CDC and the physician at the Capitol.

“I take my health care advice from my doctor, not my political opponent,” McConnell responded in a statement to McGrath.

McConnell disclosed this week he hasn’t been to the White House since Aug. 6 because of concerns about how the president and his staff have approached the illness.

“I personally didn’t feel that they were approaching protection from this illness in the same way I thought was appropriate in the Senate,” McConnell said.

The Senate Majority Leader insists the chamber can continue operating with more robust guidelines than the White House, and for now he’s focusing on getting Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Judge Barrett understands the judge’s only loyalties must be to our laws and our constitution,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor Sept. 30.

McGrath has been critical of McConnell for putting aside coronavirus relief talks.

“We have a senator who is trying to ram through a Supreme Court nominee instead of working on making sure Kentucky has the aide to get through this virus,” McGrath said in an interview with Spectrum News earlier this month.

Health care shapes up to be a key issue between the two candidates with both the coronavirus and the current Supreme Court nomination preceding a potential battle over the Affordable Care Act.

McGrath said she favors more robust Medicaid and a public option.

“To me, these are basic things that we can do in this country and we should be doing,” McGrath said. “Because health care, in my mind, is a right; It’s a right that we should all have.”

In an interview with Spectrum News Oct. 2, McConnel said Republicans will push for better options to replace whatever parts of the Affordable Care Act are overturned, including protections for pre-existing conditions.

He accused Democrats of devising a narrative Republicans don’t actually subscribe to.

“There is nobody in Congress— Democrat or Republican— who is not in favor of covering pre-existing conditions, so everyone should just breathe easy,” McConnell said. “This is just part of a campaign gimmick on the part of the Democrats to scare the American people.”

Monday’s debate is the only one both McConnell and McGrath have agreed to.