Democratic Congressional candidate state Sen. Eric Stewart is set for three debates with Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais before the Nov. 6 election, but they won’t happen unless the incumbent agrees to adjust his schedule, reports the Daily News Journal.
Stewart’s campaign said Thursday he will attend three events:
• 6 p.m. Monday in Monteagle set up by GCTV;
• 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 in Bradley County held by the Bradley Bar Association;
• and 7 p.m. Oct. 11 to be held by the Southern Standard newspaper in McMinnville.
…But Stewart won’t have anyone to debate unless DesJarlais, a South Pittsburg Republican, decides to fit one into his schedule.
DesJarlais’ campaign said Thursday he will be attending events in and around Manchester Monday and won’t be able to attend. He also has a rally scheduled Oct. 8 in Sequatchie County and will be presiding over a pro-forma session of Congress Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C, when the McMinnville debate is scheduled.
“As a result, we will not be attending these (debate) events,” DesJarlais campaign manager Brandon Lewis said.
James Clark, editor of the Southern Standard, said DesJarlais’ campaign was “non-committal” from the beginning and notified him Wednesday that DesJarlais could not attend the Oct. 11 event.
“It’s my feeling that no matter what the date or the circumstance,” DesJarlais won’t join a debate held by the Standard, Clark said.
DesJarlais “backed out” of a debate scheduled by the Standard two years ago, Clark said. He added that the newspaper also invited DesJarlais to debate immediately after the latest Aug. 2 election, but his campaign said that was “too much notice” and hasn’t cooperated even though the newspaper offered to set different dates.
Note: A Stewart campaign release is below.
News release from Eric Stewart campaign:
Winchester, Tenn. – State Senator and Candidate for U.S. Congress, Eric Stewart, announced three upcoming debates scheduled in the 4th Congressional district. Stewart says he is looking forward to the opportunity to be on stage with Congressman Scott DesJarlais and discuss issues important to voters, such as jobs, improving the economy, protecting Medicare and Social Security and ensuring that our active military and veterans have the support they deserve and need.
The first event is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 1st at 6 p.m., and is being hosted by GCTV in Monteagle, Tenn. The second is being held at 7:30 p.m. on October 8th in Bradley County. The third is scheduled for 7 p.m. on October 11th and is being hosted by the Southern Standard in Warren County.
“We have a lot of issues facing our country right now,” Stewart said. “Debates are a time-honored tradition for anyone seeking public office. Debates give voters an opportunity to see each candidate on a stage next to each other and talk about the issues that are important to the public.”
“I’m running for Congress because working families need a voice,” Stewart added. “There are a lot of people in the 4th Congressional district that believe all that’s coming out of Washington right now is fighting and bickering. No one is willing to work together to solve problems.”
“In Tennessee, I’ve worked together with Republicans and Democrats to pass eight balanced budgets. The fighting in D.C. is getting us nowhere. I’m looking forward to discussing my ideas and record next to Congressman DesJarlais so that voters have a chance to see both of us side-by-side and decide which candidate they would like to see represent them in Congress.”