PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Two Rhode Island Democratic candidates for governor have battled each other at debates where incumbent Gov. Gina Raimondo was noticeably absent.

Both former Secretary of State Matt Brown and Spencer Dickenson criticized Raimondo's absence at the debates Tuesday and Wednesday, with Brown saying it was "bad for democracy."

They also criticized her handling of the PawSox's potential move to Worcester and the ongoing issues with the state's online benefits system.

Raimondo tells The Providence Journal she skipped the debates because her challenger Brown "lies." Her campaign spokesman said Wednesday that Brown doesn't use public platforms in good faith.

His campaign spokesman said in response that Raimondo didn't participate because he is a "credible candidate" who fights for "working families."