Wes Moore, Democratic primary winner, has turned down an invitation to Morgan State University’s gubernatorial debate. Moore and his team claim the forum will give Dan Cox more of a platform than necessary. (Courtesy Photo)

By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Report For America corps member

Wes Moore, Democratic candidate for Maryland’s November’s gubernatorial race, will not be attending Morgan State University’s (MSU) gubernatorial forum this month.

MSU’s student-run news publication, the MSU Spokesman, is hosting its first gubernatorial forum on Sep. 27 in preparation for the general election day on Nov. 8. The event was meant to bring both the Republican and Democrat candidates together to try and persuade voters about their political positions. 

The forum will offer a prime opportunity for gubernatorial candidates to speak directly to HBCU students who number into the thousands between MSU, Bowie State University (BSU), Coppin State University (CSU) and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore (UMES).

Though he declined to face Cox at the historically Black university, Moore will be attending the Maryland Public Television (MPT) debate according to Carter Elliot, Moore’s communications manager. 

“We’re looking forward to the October debate hosted by Maryland Public Television,” said Elliot to the AFRO.  “Marylanders will see the clear difference between his far-right agenda and Wes’ bold leave no one behind vision that will strengthen our economy, make our communities safer, and lift up our public schools.”

According to the MSU Spokesman’s written report, they do not intend to cancel the forum and will continue for “Morgan and the Baltimore community.”

“We respectfully declined the Morgan forum,” said Elliot. “I’m not sure [if Moore will attend] future forums.”

“Dan Cox is desperate for any platform to peddle his conspiracy theories, while we have been focused on connecting directly with Maryland voters on the issues that matter to them,” said Elliot.

Cox accepted the invitation and plans to be in attendance to speak before the Black student body and community members of Northeast Baltimore and beyond. The forum will be moderated by news correspondent Antonia Hylton and led by Spokesman reporters.

According to the Spokesman’s reporting of the matter, they extended an invitation to Moore in July, and while Moore did not immediately respond Cox did.

The Spokesman reportedly received the decline by email from two staffers.

Jacqueline Jones, dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication, told the Spokesman that Moore’s decision to decline the invitation was a “mistake.”

“My experience over the years has been that when a student media, outlet requests, interviews, or tries to set up forms, they’re blown off, because they’re not taken seriously, which I think is a mistake, especially in this age of digital and social media,” she said. 

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