The on-again, off-again debate between 4th Congressional District incumbent Tom McClintock and challenger Art Moore is back on.
A day after McClintock backed away from a one-hour debate that would have been hosted by the League of Women Voters next week, the Elk Grove Republican’s camp issued a press release that he had accepted an debate invitation from the Auburn Chamber of Commerce’s “Meddlers” forum at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
Moore will be there, his campaign strategist Rob Stutzman said, although he thinks McClintock was more an organizer than an invitee to the debate.
As proof, Stutzman forwarded a Friday morning email from McClintock campaign manager Jon Huey to Auburn Chamber board member Steve Galyardt thanking him for “taking my call and trying to help us set up the debate.”
The email lays out “the rules we would like to follow”: one hour, town-hall style debate with no pre-screened questions, up to three minutes to answer and more time for rebuttals.
“Also we will be sending out a press release stating that the Meddlers have offered to step up and host a debate between Tom and Art Moore,” Huey wrote. “And that we have accepted the debate.”
Stutzman said Moore “still challenges Tom to go to a debate where he doesn’t set the rules – and at least have it during business hours, if not in the early evening.”
Huey confirmed the email, saying it was merely a follow-up to a conversation about McClintock’s previously-scheduled morning presentation to the Meddlers.
“We thought why not?” Huey said. “Why don’t we turn that into a debate?”
McClintock steered clear of the League of Women Voters’ debate earlier this week after the sponsors refused his request that each candidates appoint a representative to vet questions for fairness. The questions in previous league-sponsered debates favored his opponents, McClintock said, so pre-screening was necessary.
The 4th District contest pits two Republicans against each other. It’s one of 25 same-party races statewide made possible by California’s new top-two primary system.