Tuesday's Patch.com and AARP debate between South Carolina First Congressional District GOP runoff candidates has been canceled due to one of the candidates declining the invitation.
GOP candidate Curtis Bostic has declined multiple invitations to the debate. Bostic also missed the primary debate held by Patch.com and the Republican Liberty Caucus of South Carolina. Runoff rival Gov. Mark Sanford had accepted the invitation.
"It takes two candidates to have a debate," AARP SC spokesman Patrick Cobb said in a statement. "After numerous attempts to get Mr. Bostic's commitment to participate in the debate, a decision had to be made in the ability to produce a quality debate ... We are disappointed that there will not be a good conversation and discussion of these issues."
The campaign did not give a reason as to why the invitation was declined, but when Patch met with campaign manager David O'Connell to invite the candidate, he said the campaign would only do a limited number of forums due to the tight time frame prior to the April 2 runoff election.
O'Connoll released this statement to Patch: "Regrettably, Mr. Bostic will not be available for this event at this time."
Bostic's campaign has agreed to two only public forums prior to the April 2 runoff: A forum by the Hilton Head Republican Women on Monday, March 25, and the SCGOP debate Thursday, March 28.
Bostic was quoted in the Post and Courier as saying he thought Sanford might be the "best debater I have ever seen."
The conservative group FreedomWorks also had to cancel its planned debate when Bostic did not respond to invitations.
AARP and Patch.com, both nonpartisan organizations, were partnering to provide voters an opportunity to hear from and engage the candidates on issues that are important to the residents of the First District. The winner of the GOP runoff on April 2 will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert-Busch for seat that was vacated by Sen. Tim Scott's appointment to the Senate.