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    Markey responds to call from Lynch to hold debates

    US Representative Edward J. Markey responded late Friday to a challenge from US Representative Stephen F. Lynch to hold Democratic ­debates in advance of the April 30 special Senate primary.

    Markey, who brushed aside an initial challenge from Lynch on Monday to participate in several debates, said the candidates should begin negotiating in private.

    “Rather than continuing discussions through the ­media, we should sit down and hammer out a real deal,” ­Markey’s campaign manager Sarah Benzing said in a statement to the newsmedia. She sent a letter to the Lynch campaign earlier in the day.

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    Markey said in his release that the debate should include other Democratic candidates if they qualify for the primary by gathering 10,000 certified signatures by Feb. 27.

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    Lynch on Monday said that he had already agreed to ­debates and forums sponsored by Stonehill College, WBZ ­radio host Dan Rea, and NECN “Broadside” host Jim Braude.

    “I would hope that we will have debates all across Massachusetts,” he said.

    Lynch followed that up with posts on Twitter and ­Facebook Thursday, saying there should be at least six ­debates — in Boston, Lowell, Springfield, Worcester, Pittsfield, and Fall River or New Bedford.

    Lynch’s spokesman, Conor Yunits, said Friday night that his campaign looks forward to negotiating with Markey on a series of debates across the state.

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    The general election is scheduled for June 25. No debates have yet been scheduled with Republicans, as several candidates weigh entering a GOP primary that includes state Representative Daniel Winslow.

    Noah Bierman can be reached at nbierman@globe.com. ­Follow him on Twitter ­@noahbierman.