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Anderson declines another debate

Candidate turns down invitation from Atlanta Press Club to debate incumbent John Barrow

Anderson declines another debate

Anderson declines another debate


Lee Anderson, the Republican challenger for Georgia’s 12th Congressional District seat, has declined another invitation to publicly debate the man he wants to replace.
Anderson spokesman Ryan Mahoney told the Atlanta Press Club on Friday that his candidate, as of now, will not take part in a club-sponsored Oct. 21 debate against Democratic U.S. Rep. John Barrow.
The debate would be televised throughout the state on Georgia Public Broadcasting.
“We told (the Atlanta Press Club) that, at this point in time, we will not be debating,” said Mahoney, the communications director for the Anderson campaign.
Lauri Strauss, the executive director of the Atlanta Press Club, issued a statement Monday in response to the decision.
“The Atlanta Press Club is disappointed Mr. Anderson declined to participate in our live debate,” she said. “We believe the voters should be able to hear the candidates discuss the issues so they can make an informed decision on Election Day.”
The Press Club invitation is the most recent of several debate requests turned down by the Anderson camp.
Anderson, a state representative from Grovetown, also said no to debates sponsored by WJBF-TV in Augusta and the Statesboro Herald.
Four or five other organizations in the district have also issued invitations to debates, according to Richard Carbo, the spokesman for Barrow’s office.
Mahoney said Monday that Anderson will continue declining invitations to debate Barrow until demands issued by the Anderson campaign are met.
Last week, the campaign issued a release that said: “Lee Anderson will consider sharing the stage with John Barrow once (Barrow) stands in front of a local television camera and confesses his politically disastrous secret — he’s voting for Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.”
On Monday, Mahoney reiterated that position.
“Mr. Barrow continues to duck questions. As soon as he agrees to get in front of a camera and admits what we’ve asked, we will look at participating in debates,” Mahoney said. “We’re sticking to that.”
In response to Anderson’s refusal to participate in the upcoming Press Club debate, Carbo said: “We are absolutely hoping (Anderson) changes his mind for this debate and a number of others. Mr. Anderson is declining every debate invitation we’re receiving within the district.”
About the Anderson campaign’s ultimatum, Carbo said, in statements to the Savannah Morning News and Statesboro Herald, that Barrow will vote for the “top of the ticket.”
Carbo also said Barrow did not vote for Pelosi in 2011. The congressman voted for Pelosi for House speaker or Democratic leader three times — in 2005, 2007 and 2009, but voted for Georgia Democrat John Lewis in 2011.
Mahoney said last week that he wants Barrow to state his allegiance unequivocally and by himself, not through a spokesman.
Barrow has agreed to participate in the debates if Anderson changes his mind, Carbo said.

Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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