Republican Steve Pearce today challenged the incumbent member of Congress he’s trying to unseat, Democrat Harry Teague, to 10 “town-hall style” debates across the 2nd Congressional District before the Nov. 2 election.
Teague’s spokeswoman said a response would be coming.
Pearce said in a news release that the two should take part in the 10 debates in at least eight counties, “in addition to the traditional media-sponsored debates already proposed.”
Currently the campaigns are negotiating with media outlets to conduct two or three formal debates during the last two months of the campaign, Pearce’s release states, adding that Pearce has agreed to appear with and debate Teague at any time during the campaign.
“The people of our district have the right to see their candidates in a side-by-side setting to find out exactly where both of us stand on the issues,” Pearce said. “Ten debates in eight different counties would give the people of Southern New Mexico multiple opportunities to ask the candidates various questions and make an informed decision.”
Update, 3:30 p.m.
I hammered Pearce for ducking debates in 2006, and the state Democratic Party seized on the same theme to hit Pearce today:
“Throughout his career, Congressman Steve Pearce has never been a fan of debates… until now,” a news release from the party states. “In 2004 he refused one debate and never showed up for a second – and in 2006 KOB TV was forced to air New Mexico’s ‘One Man Debate’ because Congressman Pearce decided not to show.”
“There he goes again doing the Washington Waffle – yesterday it was the Constitution, and today it’s debates,” Democratic Party of New Mexico spokesman James Hallinan said.
Update, 4:15 p.m.
Teague Campaign Manager Dominic Gabello said “there will be debates.”
“We will work on details and we look forward to comparing records, but the real news is that Congressman Pearce’s debate dodging days are possibly over and he might finally answer some tough questions – like why he voted against, but then happily pocketed every pay raise Congress gave itself during his six years in Washington,” Gabello said.
He also asked, since Pearce wants debates in eight counties, which of the district’s 18 counties Pearce thinks should be ignored.
And Gabello said this:
“Harry hasn’t been sitting around waiting for the campaign season to kick off before he starts talking to people. In the last 20 months Harry has been hard at work visiting all 18 counties in the 2nd district multiple times and hosting well over 100 public forums. He has made it his top priority to stay in touch with the people and communities he represents so they know where he stands on the issues and so he can be responsive to their needs.
“Because of Harry’s hard work, his willingness to talk about the issues, and his commitment to staying in touch, Dion Kidd, a resident of Alamogordo, recently said, ‘Harry is the hardest working, most accessible and responsive Representative this district has seen since Joe Skeen.’”