Although Collin Peterson and Lee Byberg met in two forums over the summer--and will meet in two televised debates--Byberg is demanding that Peterson participate in three umoderated town halls without time limits in Minnesota's Seventh District.
The Byberg demand was sent to Seventh District Republicans in an email from CD7 Republican Chair Craig Bishop with instructions to call Peterson's congressional district office in Detroit Lakes. Under congressional rules, Peterson's staff can't answer questions about the political campaign while at work on the taxpayers' dime, nor can they schedule campaign events with the opposing candidate.
Were the Byberg campaign in any way serious, Bishop would ask Republican activists to call Peterson's campaign office. Instead, office staff who ordinarily deal with citizen outreach and economic development will be asked deal with a rival candidate's trolling for attention that's best sent to Peterson's campaign.
Read the Bishop email and the Byberg demands below the fold.
From: CD7 Republican Chair Craig Bishop
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2012 10:50 AM
Subject: Collin Peterson Refuses to hold Town Hall Meetings with Lee Byberg
Hello Seventh District Republicans
It is 30 days until the election and Collin Peterson has refused an invitation for town hall debates issued by Republican challenger Lee Byberg. (letter below) Representative Peterson will only agree to two studio debates with no questions from the audience. Mr. Peterson owes it to the people of this district to explain his voting record. Why is he supporting Obamacare? Cap and Trade? Why has he done nothing to control the national debt over the last 22 years? He has not spoken out or offer any solutions to this serious problem! He has a responsibility to meet in public forums and answer questions. He represents the people of the 7th District, not Washington D.C. We encourage you to call Congressman Collin Peterson’s office in Detroit Lakes 218-847-5056 and accept Lee Byberg’s challenge.
Seventh District Chairman
[email and phone number redacted]
The Byberg demand:
Congressman Collin Peterson
714 Lake Avenue Suite 107
Detroit Lakes , MN 56501
September 20, 2012
Dear Congressman Peterson,
I am writing to respectfully request that you agree to 3 town hall-style debates across the 7th congressional district.
As you know, Admiral Mike Mullen when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that the debt was the greatest national security threat facing this country—more dangerous than even the threat of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
For nearly a quarter of a century that you have been in congress you have insisted that you are committed to reigning [sic] in the deficit and the debt. Yet since you were elected to Congress nearly a quarter-century ago, the national debt has increased by 500%.
That is a shameful record, and one that I believe disqualifies you for reelection.
The people of the 7th district have a right to hear from their Congressman in unscripted debates during this important election season. There has not been a federal budget in over 3 years. Unemployment has remained over 8% for 4 years. Long-term unemployment is at the highest level since the Great Depression. Americans have seen their net worth decline by 40% in recent years. And the CBO projects trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.
I know you have rejected meeting your constituents in town hall meetings in the past because you think too many of your constituents are crazy, but in these perilous times they deserve answers from you. And they deserve to measure the alternative that I would provide them.
So, just this one election, don’t you think that voters deserve unscripted, genuine answers to the pressing questions of the day?
I am confident that the voters of the 7th District would be happy to have the opportunity to finally meet you and be able to ask question of both you and me, without the benefit of time limits or moderators.[emphasis added]
If that's Byberg's notion of being respectful, we don't want to see his contempt.
Photo: Lee Byberg.