Phil Moffett issues open challenge to David Williams for primary debates

12/30/2010 02:37 PM

Unable to keep pace in fundraising so far, Republican candidate for governor Phil Moffett is embracing the role of underdog and challenging rival David Williams to a series of debates across the state.

In the middle of the night Wednesday, the Moffett campaign sent their “open challenge” out through social media and news releases, taking an any place, any time approach.

“I think any county who can put together a Lincoln or Reagan dinner should have a gubernatorial debate,” Moffett said in a statement. “Moderately priced tickets could fund local party-building activities and the candidates can take their visions for building the party directly to the people whose support we will need to put this state on the right track.”

Moffett’s campaign manager, David Adams, said in a phone interview that he doesn’t believe the Williams campaign is interested in debates and that no agreements are in place with debate hosts or the Williams campaign. But Adams stressed the importance of having such debates during the Republican gubernatorial primary.

“We’re making the challenge,” Adams said. “We think the Republican nomination for governor is important enough to see the issues debated.”

Scott Jennings, the campaign manager for Williams, said the campaign is open to discussing debates, but not before the Jan. 25 filing deadline passes.

“We will happily look at sitting down with whatever candidate or campaign (that wants to debate),” Jennings said. “As soon as the field is set. But we won’t be engaging with any campaigns until after the filing deadline.

So far, Moffett and Williams are the only two candidates who have filed to run in the Republican gubernatorial primary, but others, such as Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw or former ambassador to Latvia, Cathy Bailey, have either expressed interest in running in the primary or have been widely rumored to be interested.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston


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