US Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren should reschedule the high-profile debate that was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.
At the height of the winds Monday evening, Brown pulled out of the debate, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, and Warren seemed to agree with the decision; candidates for US Senate might reasonably decide that it wouldn’t have been appropriate to hold a campaign-related event the following night — and might have interfered with storm coverage. But as the winds abated over the course of the day Tuesday, so did the sense of immediate crisis. While Warren has said she’s amenable to another debate Thursday, Brown’s campaign said late that Tuesday he wouldn’t be able to reschedule.
Sponsored by a media consortium that includes the Globe, the final debate would likely attract a large audience and would be useful for undecided voters. As power is restored to more and more homes, and as Tuesday’s election quickly approaches, public attention will return to the Senate race. Yet Brown notes that he and Warren have already faced off three times and says that voters already know where the candidates stand.
If anything, though, a post-Sandy debate could be more illuminating than some previous ones. The storm also raised issues that deserve the next senator’s attention but up to now haven’t figured prominently in the campaign — the proper balance between local, state, and federal authorities in planning for, and cleaning up after, natural disasters; the fitness of the state’s physical infrastructure in the face of such events; the possibility that this year’s late-October hurricane, like last year’s freak October snowstorm, is part of a pattern of increasingly extreme weather events related to global climate change. Voters deserve to hear the candidates on these and other issues. The last debate should go forward.