I received the following email responses from Steven Shearer, State Rep. Aaron Schock's campaign manager, to information that Schock will not attend the Peoria Area World Affairs Council debate next month. Callahan has criticized Schock for not agreeing to debates in the race for Congress from the 18th District. The response:
Aaron Schock and his campaign never committed to this proposed World Affairs Council debate in Peoria in the first place. Aaron has agreed to do a World Affairs Council debate in Jacksonville. He already did one for the Peoria World Affairs Council in the primary which was broadcast on radio.
As you can see on the list posted on your blog of the 10 debates Aaron Schock has agreed to do, there is one in October which the co-sponsors, WEEK-TV, the Journal Star and the League of Women Voters, are still working out the date for. This will be held in WEEK's studios and broadcast live on television. WEEK has a very large viewership in the 18th Congressional District, so it is false that Aaron Schock is not willing to debate in a televised debate.
He will also participate in the Peoria Chamber and WMBD's debate which will be broadcast on WMBD radio.
There will be both a televised and a radio broadcast debate. Aaron Schock has agreed to 10 debates, which is a level not many congressional campaigns do. They will be held by diverse organizations that are each well respected; several of the debates have multiple organizations co-hosting the event; they are spread out among the district, and one will be televised and one will be broadcasted on radio. All in all, we feel the line up Aaron Schock has agreed to will allow for a thorough airing of the candidates views on subjects across-the-board. Colleen Callahan can disagree all she wants as to what Aaron Schock should do but she is running her campaign, not this one. Most objective observers will agree that ten debates are a solid commitment.
Debates are an important component of a congressional campaign but not the only component by far. Again, there will only be three presidential debates because Barack Obama has only agreed to three.
Colleen Callahan needs to make the most of these 10 debates and figure out on her own how else she will take her message to the voters. Aaron Schock is not going to walk her hand in hand throughout the district, taking up one third of the evenings left in the campaign.
The Callahan campaign's first press release on the subject of debates wrongly said "Schock has agreed to exactly zero debates." That point was proved flat out wrong. Now, when given ten separate opportunities to debate, Callahan and her campaign clings to another false notion that Schock pulled out of a debate. The bottom line is that she has ten opportunities to debate Aaron Schock, including both a televised and radio broadcast debate.
The Callahan campaign has said the "debates" to which Shearer refers are actually forums and joint appearances, and not true debates in which candidates take turns answering questions. Many commenters have expressed similar sentiments. In the interest of fairness, I asked Shearer to respond:
They all have either questions from the audience which each candidate will answer, or a moderator or panel asking questions. Debate rebuttals will be included in at least the formats of the: WEEK-TV/Journal Star/League of Women Voters televised debate; the Peoria Chamber of Commerce/WMBD Radio debate broadcast on radio; the Jewish Federation of Peoria Debate; the World Affairs Council and League of Women Voters debate in Jacksonville; and the Southwest Kiwanis Debate. AARP has not yet determined its format. Each of the ten events will allow for a side by side comparison of the candidates on the issues.
Cross posted to Peoria Pundit.