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    Baker agrees to three debates, but Gonzalez wants more

    Governor Charlie Baker has agreed to three televised debates against Democrat Jay Gonzalez between now and the general election in November.
    Charles Krupa/Associated Press/File 2017
    Governor Charlie Baker has agreed to three televised debates against Democrat Jay Gonzalez between now and the general election in November.

    Governor Charlie Baker has agreed to three televised debates against Democrat Jay Gonzalez between now and the general election in November, according to a spokesman for the Republican’s campaign, who said the dates and times for those debates are still being negotiated.

    Gonzalez, who won the Democratic primary Tuesday, had said earlier in the day that he had accepted invitations from five media outlets and consortiums looking to sponsor events and would be open to more. His campaign manager called Baker’s decision to participate in three “disappointing.”

    Baker spokesman Terry MacCormack said the governor had accepted invitations from WBZ-TV, WGBH, and a media consortium that includes the Boston Globe, WBUR, WCVB, UMass, and the ABC and CBS affiliates in Springfield.

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    “The Baker-Polito campaign has accepted invitations for three debates and looks forward to productive conversations about Governor Baker’s strong record of bipartisan results, including 180,000 new jobs, historic funding for education and nation-leading reforms to curb the opioid epidemic,” MacCormack said in a statement.

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    Gonzalez, who trailed Baker significantly in pre-primary polls, had hoped that Baker would commit to more face-to-face meetings in geographically diverse areas of the state.

    “Since the very beginning of this campaign, we’ve pledged to offer more engaging and transparent leadership. More debates, not fewer, is the most open and transparent way we can ensure voters have a clear understanding of the choice they’ll be asked to make in November for the future of our state,” Gonzalez said in a statement early Thursday.

    The Democrat’s campaign manager Kevin Ready said the other two debates Gonzalez had agreed to were proposed by consortiums. One invitation for a debate that would have been held in Worcester came from NBC-10 Boston, Telemundo, New England Cable News and the Telegram and Gazette. Another was proposed by a group that included the Republican of Springfield, MassLive, New England Public Radio, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, UMass Amherst, WWLP 22 News and others.

    “To use Charlie Baker’s favorite phrase, we’re ‘disappointed’ by his decision,” Ready said. “People across this state deserve to hear directly from those who want to serve as Governor. Charlie Baker’s decision to reject debates hosted by media outlets in Worcester and Springfield is an insult to communities outside of the Boston area and a slap in the face to the Hispanic community served by Telemundo Boston.”

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    A Baker campaign official confirmed that the campaign is not currently considering any other invitations to debate.