by Pamela Powers Hannley
Congressman and US Senate candidate Jeff Flake has finally agreed to go toe-to-toe and actually debate his Democratic opponent in the US Senate race Dr. Richard Carmona. Woot!
Initially, Flake had agreed to only a 30-minute "debate" in the Phoenix PBS studio, with no audience. What a coward...
Now, after much bad press (including here on Blog for Arizona), Flake has agreed to man up and participate in debates in Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. Since so many blogs are quoted in the Carmona press release below, how about having at least one blogger asking questions on each debate panel? You'd get some interesting questions, that's for sure.
Here's the Carmona press release about Flake's change of heart.
Flake caves, will debate
Under pressure, Congressman Flake finally agrees to debates
After backing out on news organizations throughout the state, Congressman Jeff Flake's campaign has finally agreed to debate Rich Carmona for more than half an hour. Flake, a 12-year incumbent and former lobbyist, had previously declined every invitation except for one 30-minute debate. But bowing to pressure, Congressman Flake has now agreed to debates in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma.
"From the beginning of this race, Dr. Carmona said he would debate Congressman Flake whenever and wherever. Until today, Congressman Flake had been dodging any possible public appearance with Dr. Carmona with the exception of one 30-minute debate," said Carmona for Arizona Communications Director Andy Barr. "Congressman Flake's campaign must finally know it's in trouble if they are abandoning their previous strategy."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Arizona Daily Star: Flake declines invitation for debate with Carmona in Southern Arizona
"Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake has turned down the Star's invitation to debate Democrat Richard Carmona. The Star proposed any of six dates in early October, with the debate to be co-sponsored by the Tohono O'odham Gaming Enterprise and held at its Desert Diamond Casino just off I-19 between Tucson and Green Valley."
Letter to the Arizona Republic
"After Jeff Flake's Republican primary victory, he proclaimed, 'I can't wait to debate the issues.' I'm not sure what he's waiting for. His wimpy behavior in ducking debate challenges from his Democratic opponent, Dr. Richard Carmona, is insulting."
Letter to the White Mountain Independent
"Why is it that Representative Jeff Flake, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, refuses to debate Dr. Richard Carmona, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate?Dr. Carmona is willing to debate on any topic for as many debates as can be arranged, but so far Representative Flake is unwilling. Why?"
Fitz Blog: Flake flaking out on us
"Flake has been invited to debate Rich Carmona more often than Mitt Romney has flip flopped."
More Flake-bashing news coverage after the jump.
Phoenix New Times: Congressman Jeff Flake, Running for U.S. Senate, Dodging Political Debates Against Opponent Richard Carmona?
"We've got a call in to Andrew Wilder, a Flake spokesman, to find out why Flake -- who handily survived a bitter battle in the Republican primary against wealthy businessman Will Cardon -- doesn't seem eager to debate his opponent. By comparison, a Carmona spokesman says that Carmona, a former President Bush-appointee, has accepted invitations to at least eight debates."
Blog for Arizona: Flake hiding in the bunker, will not debate Carmona
"It's time to man up Mr. Flake and to take questions from the voters in town hall debates with your opponent, Dr. Richard Carmona. If you are unwilling and too afraid to do this, then you are unworthy of being a candidate for the U.S. Senate. You are undeserving of anyone's vote."
Rum Romanism and Rebellion
"Flake has agreed to a sum total of one debate. Solitary. Singleton. Nada mas uno. What strikes me more than the number (once again, one) or refusal to have one outside of the greater Phoenix area is the length. Half an hour."