WAGM and Aroostook Partnership to Host Second District Congressional Debate

Published: Oct. 10, 2016 at 7:26 PM EDT
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Aroostook County will host one of only two scheduled debates between the candidates for Maine's Second District Congressional Seat. Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin and Democratic Challenger Emily Cain will take part in the live, televised exchange hosted by WAGM-TV and the Aroostook Partnership on Wednesday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m.

The hour-long debate will be held at WAGM-TV’s studio on the Brewer Road in Presque Isle and be broadcast on the television station's CBS affiliate. In addition to airing live in northern Maine, the debate will reach viewers statewide as it will be simulcast on WMTW-TV, the ABC affiliate in Portland and WABI-TV, the CBS affiliate in Bangor.

C-SPAN, the national cable and satellite network that airs Congressional proceedings and produces governmental public affairs programming, has also expressed interest in re-broadcasting the WAGM-TV/Aroostook Partnership Debate in its entirety as part of its coverage of key national races.

"There is significant interest throughout the state and across the country in Maine's Second District Congressional Race," said WAGM-TV News Director Kelly OMara. "We are pleased that both candidates have agreed to participate in the WAGM-TV/Aroostook Partnership Debate and that our broadcast partners in central and southern Maine will join us in sharing this debate throughout Maine. This will not only ensure that questions of Aroostook County voters are asked, but that some key issues of national significance are addressed by the candidates before a statewide and possibly national audience."

Questions asked of the candidates during the October 19th debate will be those submitted by residents of Aroostook County through an on-line submission form found on both the WAGM-TV and Aroostook Partnership websites. In addition, the television station will seek out and videotape some questions asked directly by County residents, and accept questions mailed to the television station that include the full name, town and phone number of the individual.

"Aroostook County residents and organizations have a tremendous opportunity to have their questions asked to the individuals looking to represent us in Congress for the next two years," said Aroostook Partnership President and CEO Bob Dorsey. "We strongly encourage folks to take advantage and submit questions. The Aroostook Partnership is pleased to partner with WAGM, and now our downstate media partners, to bring this important forum to the people of Maine."

The debate will be moderated by OMara, who will be joined in asking the submitted questions by Aroostook Partnership Advocacy Committee Chairperson Jason Parent and WMTW-TV Political Reporter Paul Merrill.

In addition to the Second District Congressional Debate, WAGM-TV and the Aroostook Partnership, in collaboration with the Aroostook County Chambers of Commerce, will host a series of Aroostook County Legislative Candidate Conversations on WAGM for two weeks, beginning October 24.

For the series, WAGM-TV and Aroostook Partnership have invited each of the candidates in the eight County races for the Maine House of Representatives and two Maine State Senate contests to appear for back to back five minute interview segments that will be aired live during the television station's 5:30 p.m. newscast each evening. The segments will be re-broadcast on the following WAGM-TV morning newscast. The schedule air dates for the various County legislative races are as follows:

-House Districts:

144 - 10/24 (rebroadcast 10/25 AM)

145 - 10/25 (rebroadcast 10/26 AM)

146 - 10/26 (rebroadcast 10/27 AM)

147 - 10/27 (rebroadcast 10/28 AM)

148 - 10/28 (rebroadcast 10/31 AM)

149 - 10/31 (rebroadcast 11/1 AM)

150 & 151 - 11/1 One segment each - races unopposed (rebroadcast 11/2 AM)

-Senate Districts

1 - 11/2 (rebroadcast 11/3 AM)

2 - 11/3 (rebroadcast 11/4 AM)

Similar to the Second District Congressional Debate, questions will be those submitted by County residents and not known to candidates before the interview, with the exception of the first question asked of all candidates which will be: "If elected, what are your top three priorities in the coming Legislative session?"

The Aroostook County Legislative Candidate Conversations represent the most significant broadcast time commitment by WAGM-TV to local legislative candidates and will replace the traditional "Candidate Profiles" previously produced by the station that ran an average of one-and-a-half to two minutes in length. The forums also represent the largest number of pre-election events hosted by the Aroostook Partnership.

Aroostook County residents are encouraged to submit questions for both the Second District Congressional Debate and Aroostook County Legislative Candidate Conversations through the links on both the WAGM-TV website ( or the Aroostook Partnership website (