As far as the Walz campaign is concerned, it doesn't matter who wins the Republican primary on August 14, Heading into tomorrow's Farmfest Congressional Forum, Walz has issued a challenge to both to commit to three 90-minute debates.
In a press release, Walz said that he wants to make sure that there's a robust debate about issues that people in Southern Minnesota care about:
WALZ CAMPAIGN CHALLENGES OPPONENTS TO DEBATES ON CRITICAL ISSUES
Says southern Minnesotans deserve a transparent and open discussion among candidates
Mankato, Minnesota – Today, Tim Walz’s campaign challenged 1st Congressional District candidates to a series of debates so each candidate can clearly lay out their ideas and positions for southern Minnesota voters.
“Engaging in civil, lively debate is one of our democracy’s greatest traditions,” said Sara Severs, Tim Walz for U.S. Congress Campaign Manager. “We are looking forward to participating in these debates with whomever the Republicans choose on August 14th and to the opportunity to share with the voters of southern Minnesota a clear vision for our future.”
In an e-mail to the respective campaigns of Former Representative Allen Quist and Senator Mike Parry, Severs proposed three, ninety minute debates in addition to the Farmfest debate all three candidates will participate in on Tuesday. One debate would be in Rochester on jobs and the economy. Another would be in Mankato on veterans and energy. The third would be a television debate at a to be determined location.
Walz is set to participate in his first debate with Quist and Parry at Farmfest tomorrow.
A copy of the e-mail sent to both campaigns is attached.
Dear Quist and Parry Campaigns,
As you know, dialogue between candidates for Congress in the 1st Congressional District will begin at the annual Farmfest candidate forum tomorrow, August 7, 2012. Moving forward, Tim Walz is eager to engage in a thoughtful dialogue on the issues.
Due to the contentious nature of the primary between the two of you and the refusal of Senator Parry to participate in a number of debates, we want to move quickly to ensure southern Minnesotans will have an opportunity to hear from the candidates about the issues that matter most.
To ensure voters in southern Minnesota have an opportunity to hear this critical dialogue, we propose the following three, ninety-minute debates, in addition to Farmfest, that will take place before October 15th:
• A debate in Rochester on jobs and the economy.
• A debate in Mankato on veterans and energy.
• A televised debate at a location to be determined.
This isn't the first time that Walz--who wowed observers nationwide in a 2006 debate with Gil Gutknecht at the Steele County Free Fair--has asked for his opponents to debate, although it's the first time he asked the primary.
After endorsed Republican Brian Davis defeated primary challenger Dick Day in 2008, Walz challenged Davis to three debates. Davis, Day and Walz had earlier sparred at Farmfest.
In 2010, Minnpost reported that Walz wants three debates; Demmer agrees, asks for eight more. Walz insisted that Independence Party candidate Steve Wilson take part in the debates; after the final one Martiga Lohn of the Associated Press reported in Walz, Demmer tangle in final debate in Minn.'s 1st that Randy Demmer admitted that he hadn't read the health care bill.
Mike Parry admitted the same thing on Almanac in July; Quist--who has wanted more debates with Parry--prides himself on reading legislation.
Will each agree to the long debate form?
Photo: Why is Tim Walz smiling?