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Talking to candidates is getting harder

It’s an odd time for reporters who cover elections. It’s a lot harder than it used to be to talk to some candidates. The emergence of social media has certainly played a role. But there is something else at play: A reluctance by some candidates, mainly Republicans, to agree to interviews or even participate in debates.

In April, the Republican National Committee withdrew from the Commission on Presidential Debates. Closer to home, Republican U.S. Senate nominee Ted Budd refused to debate his opponents in the primary and has shown no sign of agreeing to debate Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley.

We have two guests today to help us examine this trend. First up is Andrew Dunn. He has worked for the Charlotte Observer, the Charlotte Agenda (now Axios Charlotte) and two years ago got into politics as the communications director for Republican Dan Forrests’ gubernatorial campaign. He now writes a newsletter on Substack called Longleaf Politics. But, he’s mostly removed himself from journalism. He now makes a living as a carpenter.

We’ll also talk to Michael Kruse of Politico, whose range of story subjects has included U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin, and Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

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Steve Harrison is WFAE's politics and government reporter. Prior to joining WFAE, Steve worked at the Charlotte Observer, where he started on the business desk, then covered politics extensively as the Observer’s lead city government reporter. Steve also spent 10 years with the Miami Herald. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated.
Tim Funk is one of the hosts of the "Inside Politics: Election 2022 podcast." He spent most of his 40-year journalism career at The Charlotte Observer, covering politics in its Raleigh bureau and, later, as its Washington correspondent. His other Observer beats over the years included race and immigration, TV and radio, and faith & values.
Jim Morrill is a native of the Chicago area who's worked in the Carolinas since 1979. He covered politics and government for the Charlotte Observer for almost 40 years. He's won several press awards and in 1999 was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He's taught about NC politics at UNC-Charlotte and Davidson College.