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The Lewis and Clark County Republican Central Committee has decided to pull its sponsorship for a scheduled republican gubernatorial debate November 26th at Carroll College.

The committee made the decision after it Learned the debate would not include congressman Greg Gianforte.

The debate will still take place on the 26th with the other two republican candidates, Attorney General Tim Fox and State Senator Al Olszewski according to communication Director for "Fox for Governor" campaign. 

The Gianforte campaign released a statement stating they made it clear several weeks ago Gianforte would not be able to appear at the debate because he's spending the Thanksgiving holiday with his family.

Statement from Tim Fox: 

"Leadership is about having the character and integrity to share with voters your vision and ideas, not making excuses. There are a million people in Montana and it is important every voter has the opportunity to hear the candidates speak on Montana issues and how they will protect conservative Montana values. Voters expect and deserve this respect from all candidates. Montanans are tired of candidates trying to buy elections. Debates provide an opportunity for voters to ask questions and be a part of our democratic process.  We look forward to having a spirited debate with our friend Dr. Al about the issues important to Montana on November 26th.  

Gianforte's campaign said Fox scheduled the debate to avoid facing the front-runner.

"Desperate campaigns do desperate things when they realize they are losing," Gianforte campaign manager Jake Eaton said in an email. "Greg looks forward to participating in the Jan. 23 debate that all candidates have agreed to.”

He said he expected the opponents to "propose debates on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day so they can debate when no one is watching."

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