Vegas PBS will produce the only live televised debate in the extremely contentious race between U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and GOP challenger Sharron Angle. And the Nevada Broadcasters Association is already ramping up security for the Oct. 14 event, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During the last campaign event Faith Lutheran High School, a fistfight broke out in the audience. Bob Fisher, president of the state association, said it is limiting each candidate to 12 accompanying persons instead of 40 to accommodate security as well as local, national and international media requests to cover the debate. There will be no public audience. Also, the relatively small studio contains expensive broadcast equipment. “We cannot afford to have an accident on live television,” Fisher said. “It is a safety issue.” The debate will run live statewide at 6 that evening, moderated by Mitch Fox, host of Nevada Week in Review.
Vegas PBS told Current in a statement: “Vegas PBS has been conducting political debates for almost 25 years and during that time created a process that is efficient and fair to the candidates participating in the debate. The unfortunate episode that occurred during the Faith Lutheran event has no bearing on Vegas PBS’ decision to not open the U.S. Senate, Gubernatorial or Congressional District 3 debates to the general public. These debates will be carried live on Vegas PBS channel 10 and it was always our intent that our audience view these debates via our website at VegasPBS.org or on television. Vegas PBS has always planned for adequate security to ensure the safety of our candidates, media and others participating in the democratic process. We stand by our proven processes and procedures to produce quality and informational debates for our viewing audience.”