WASHINGTON — There will be at least one statewide debate — and possibly a second — this fall between the two major party candidates for U.S. Senate in Arkansas.

WASHINGTON — There will be at least one statewide debate — and possibly a second — this fall between the two major party candidates for U.S. Senate in Arkansas.


Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, have agreed to face off on Oct. 14 in a live televised debate sponsored by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.


The hourlong debate, which will air at 7 p.m. on ABC affiliate stations KATV, KAIT and KHBS/KHOG, is the first — and as yet only — debate that the two candidates have agreed to participate in.


Pryor said he has also agreed to appear at an AETN debate, Cotton said he has accepted invitations to five other debates.


In an interview Thursday, Pryor said he only plans to participate in debates that are televised statewide and doubts he would agree to any more than the two he has already accepted.


"My guess is two is probably what we end up doing. Again, I want statewide televised debates to talk about issues important to Arkansas," Pryor said. "Two are probably about the capacity most people have for this race, they’ve already been inundated by television and mail."


The Cotton campaign announced Thursday it had agreed to participate in the Chamber of Commerce debate after the format was broadened to include more issues. Initially, the format focused solely on education, transportation and economic development. It now will include health care, job creation, debt, deficit, tax reform, Social Security, Medicare and agriculture policies, the Cotton campaign said.


Cotton, however, was disappointed that foreign policy will not be included.


"It’s unfortunate that Senator Pryor specifically objected to including any discussion of foreign policy in this debate proposal," said David Ray, a spokesman for the Cotton campaign.


Pryor said that it was the chamber that set the debate parameters and that he was happy to focus on infrastructure, education and the economy.


"I agreed to those terms for the debate. I think those are very important issues to Arkansas. We need to talk about those issues and apparently that’s what he (Cotton) has agreed to," Pryor said.