'Shameless' Says Republican About Opponent's Tactics
Republican Primary frontrunner for Congress in Chesterfield Ann Wagner says she's focused on voters, not debating her opponent. Republican opponent Randy Jotte claims avoiding debate is at issue.
With two weeks before the August 7 Primary Election, candidates are scrambling to reach every potential vote, attending event after event, forum after forum.
But time is running out for candidates to schedule joint appearances.
In Chesterfield's 2nd Congressional District Republican primary, the last such opportunity may have taken place Tuesday, when Ann Wagner and Dr. Randy Jotte spoke at a St. Louis County Republican Women’s forum.
The most heated portion of the forum came as the candidates argued over tactics in these closing days of the campaigns.
Jotte, an emergency room doctor at Barnes Jewish, claims he’s been seeking a debate with Wagner since March, through press releases, and campaign staff. Recently, he took to YouTube, and sent a certified letter.
“There will be bills where we we have to say yes or no, Aye or Nay and those are substantive issues,” Jotte said after the forum.
“Maybe it’s Iran, maybe it’s Medicare, maybe its Medicaid. If and when 'ObamaCare' is repealed we need to know, here’s a proposal to replace it—is it a yay or a nay?”
Wagner, the Republican nominee frontrunner in the race for Congress, debated Ed Martin several times earlier in her campaign, before Martin stepped aside to run for state Attorney General.
As the frontrunner, Wagner would typically have more to lose in sharing the stage with an opponent this late in the game.
Wagner went on to describe Jotte's debate challenges as “shameless” and signs of a desperate campaign.
“For you to issue a YouTube challenge a few days ago for a debate, I find a political gimmick and a ploy that frankly is beneath the people in the Second District,” Wagner said during Tuesday's forum.
She also criticized Jotte's timing, saying it came on the heels of her father's death.
Wagner served as co-chair of the Republican National Committee and an ambassador to Luxembourg during the Bush administration.
Wagner plans to launch a new round of television advertising Wednesday, and says she’s focused on reaching out to voters and debating the issues with them over these final days, if not her opponents.
Jotte said he knew of no more joint events left on the campaign schedule before August 7, but pledged to be available for a debate if the opportunity presented itself.
Jotte pointed out that in a much more heated Congressional primary campaign, U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay and and Russ Carnahan will see at least one debate next week prior to the Primary Election.