GEORGIA (WRBL) – Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker have officially accepted a debate hosted by Nexstar Media, Inc. in Savannah on Oct.14, 2022.

Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver has also qualified with the Georgia Secretary of State to run for the U.S. Senate seat.   

Each candidate will need to meet a set of criteria in order to patriciate in the debate, including polling at ten percent or above ahead of the general election. Nexstar Media, Inc. will partner with Emerson College for a poll that will be given to Georgia voters October 5-8. This poll will be used to determine the ten percent polling threshold. 

The entire participation criteria used by Nexstar Media, Inc. can be found below.  

Nexstar Debate Participation Criteria Effective May 20, 2022  

Nexstar Media Inc. is committed to hosting fair and open debates among qualified candidates as part of the Company’s mission to inform the public and assist voters in making important electoral decisions. To determine who is a qualified candidate, the Company has adopted the following objective and non-discriminatory criteria to govern which candidates are eligible to participate in Company-sponsored debates. To be eligible to participate, a candidate must comply with all five sections of this policy.  

1. A candidate must be legally qualified and (x) listed on the ballot for the office the candidate is seeking or (y) be a write-in candidate who meets all the legal qualifications required by the federal, state or municipal government for the office being sought and has filed the appropriate papers for write-in status. 

2. A candidate must have publicly announced his or her candidacy in a public forum. For the purposes of this section, “public forum” includes an announcement of candidacy on the Internet.  

3. A candidate must be actively campaigning for election in the jurisdiction he or she is seeking to represent for the office he or she is seeking. To meet the definition of an active campaign, a candidate must engage in at least five of the following:  

  • a. A campaign headquarters with a paid and/or volunteer staff that is open to the public during business hours. For the purposes of this subsection, a campaign headquarters may not be a private residence, but may be a business address used primarily for non-campaign purposes; and  
  • b. A campaign phone line; and  
  • c. A publicized, dedicated candidate-specific website or web page; and  
  • d. Planned in-district appearances or invitations to appear and/or speak at public gatherings; and  
  • e. Monetary contributions and a campaign treasurer; and  
  • f. Campaign literature; and  
  • g. Press coverage identifying the candidate as a candidate in the current election by at least eight unique news reports in media (e.g., newspapers, TV, cable news, radio, or online news websites that are recognized by local and/or national media; note however, blogs are not considered news reports, whether affiliated or unaffiliated).  

4. A candidate must have received at least of five percent in the ballot test poll question (who do you plan to vote for?) that includes all party aligned candidates on the ballot in a primary election, or at least ten percent in a ballot test poll question (who do you plan to vote for?) that includes all candidates on the ballot running for office in the general election, in an established, professionally conducted nonpartisan poll chosen by Nexstar Media Inc. without taking the survey’s margin of error into account. The poll must be released within 120-days prior to the primary or general election, as applicable. If there is no poll available, the rest of the document will govern who will be invited to the debate.  

5. A candidate for a state or federal office must have reported, on the most recent official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, accepting at least $50,000 in monetary, as opposed to in-kind, campaign contributions, at least 25 percent of which must be raised from in-state constituents. For local offices, a candidate must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, having accepted at least $15,000 in campaign contributions.  

6. Nexstar Media Inc. and its affiliates, employees, agents, and servants shall not guarantee to any candidate or candidate’s campaign, verbally or in writing, that the candidate will be included in a debate until the requirements of this policy, and each of them, have been satisfied to the satisfaction of Nexstar, Inc. and its affiliates.  

7. With the voter’s interest in mind, if unforeseen circumstances should happen leading up to a scheduled debate, Nexstar Media Inc. reserves the right to modify or change the criteria based on the best interests of the electorate.