[Updated] Tom Watson, Republican candidate for Congress, issued the following statement this morning, October 6:
“I am pleased to accept the debate sponsored by KEYT and the Daily Sound for October 28th at the KEYT studios, and I greatly appreciate KEYT’s and the Daily Sound’s efforts to make this happen. Due to a miscommunication my campaign was not clear that the details had been firmly established. I regret any confusion or misunderstandings that may have occurred regarding my previous press release and retract the statements regarding these two organizations. My intention was not to indicate KEYT or the Daily Sound were not forthright in their effort to make this debate happen, in fact just the opposite; I appreciate their and any other organizations efforts to get the Congresswoman to debate. They have performed a valuable public service, as candidates for public office should debate willingly and frequently.
My intention was to point out that having debates so near the end of the election, airing just two days before an election, is a stall tactic by our Congresswoman. It is disrespectful, cynical and typical Washington style politics that is an insult to the voters. The political reality is that more than half the people will have already voted by absentee ballot by then, which means it is further evidence of how out of touch Mrs. Capps is with her constituents, or it is a political ploy. Either way, it is shameful.
As of today, the candidates for Governor, United States Senate, and the Legislature have all had several debates. There is no excuse for our Congresswoman to avoid a fair airing of the issues until nearly the end.
And as of today, voters have started to receive their absentee ballots in the mail, and this Congressional District is one where about 60% of the people vote by early by absentee. That means before this debate occurs, more than half the voters in this district will already have made up their mind and voted.
While I look forward to the debates on the 23rd at Santa Barbara City College and now the 28th at KEYT, there is still a lot of time between now and then to have a debate about issues which are impacting our families, our communities and our jobs. Congresswoman Capps, let’s talk.”
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Tom Watson, Republican candidate for Congress in the 23rd District, today (October 4) called out Congresswoman Capps to engage in a debate each week between now and the election.
“Now that Congress is over, I am challenging Congresswoman Capps to debate me…any time, any place, any format, any moderator, any rules, in front of any group, with any other candidates for this office. I will change, cancel or adjust my schedule to fit hers. The people of this district deserve to see the stark difference between her vision and mine,” stated the GOP candidate.
Watson also announced that he had sent nearly 100 letters to groups and organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, Kiwanis, Rotaries, Schools, Media, and even labor unions inviting them to host a debate or forum.
“Yes, I’m willing to go to the labor union halls in this district, in front of union members who have and will endorse Lois Capps, and debate her on the issues facing the people of this district. I think when these union members hear what I have to say, they may think twice about voting for the Congresswoman.”
In addition to sending a letter to groups and organizations, Watson also sent a letter directly to Capps. In the letter Watson stated, “I know schedules are busy, but truthfully if the candidates for Governor and of the largest state in the country can find time to have numerous debates, so can we. If the candidates for United State Senate can find time to have numerous debates, so can we.”
Watson concluded saying that he and the Congresswoman have different views of the direction of the country and different solutions to our problems. “Having a civilized discourse where people can hear what we have to say, ask questions, have the media present is the best way to show where each of us stands, what we believe, and what we offer to fix our problems. Congresswoman, I await your reply.”
The letter sent by Watson:
October 4, 2010
Dear Congresswoman Capps:
This election is about the future of this country. You and I have very different opinions of the direction our country is headed, and we also have different opinions about the solutions we need for the people of the 23rd Congressional District.
Given the many challenges facing our country, a single debate is not sufficient to do justice to a full airing of the issues. To better inform voters directly about what we think and how we propose to best represent the people of the 23rd District, we should debate once a week from now until the election. Nothing could be better for the democratic process and the people of the 23rd congressional district than to hear us answer questions directly about what we believe and what we offer. As candidates, we are asking people for their votes, we should be willing, eager and able to engage with our challengers in a discussion of why they should vote for us. It is a time-honored tradition in American politics.
I know schedules are busy, but truthfully if the candidates for Governor and of the largest state in the country can find time to have numerous debates, so can we. If the candidates for United State Senate can find time to have numerous debates, so can we. If our candidates for the local State Assembly race can find time to have a few debates, so can we. And to help with that effort, I am willing to clear my schedule of any day at any time each week to debate you.
Further, because I know how some of these debates can get bogged down in political posturing and details, I offer to accept whatever conditions are set. Let me be clear, I will debate you any time, any place, with any moderator, in front of any group, in any format, with or without any of the other candidates running for this office.
To that end I have asked over 100 groups and organizations throughout the 23rd Congressional District to host us in a debate or forum.
The people of our district have an important decision to make. I strongly believe that if they hear us speak about who we are, what we believe, and where we see our country going in the next generation, they will be able to make a more informed decision. They will be able to make an unbiased decision about who they believe will best represent them for the next two years.
I look forward to your favorable reply to this challenge.
Organizations to whom the letter was sent:
Kiwanis Club of Carpinteria Valley, Kiwanis Club of Oxnard, Kiwanis Club of Santa Barbara, Kiwanis Club of Ventura, Kiwanis Club of San Luis Obispo, Carpinteria Rotary, Carpinteria Morning Rotary, Goleta Rotary, Goleta Noontime Rotary, Montecito Rotary, Oxnard Rotary, Oxnard Sunrise Rotary, San Luis Obispo Rotary, San Luis Obispo Daybreak Rotary, San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Rotary, Santa Barbara Rotary, Santa Barbara North Rotary, Santa Barbara Sunrise Rotary, Santa Ynez Valley Rotary, Solvang Rotary, Ventura Rotary, Ventura Marina Rotary, Ventura South Rotary, UC Santa Barbara, California Polytechnic State University, Westmont College, Santa Barbara City College, California Lutheran University, Ventura County Community College, California Teachers Association, Santa Barbara Teachers Association, Teamsters, Local 381, Ventura Unified Education Association, Teamsters, SEIU, Local 620, SEIU, Local 720, Goleta Chamber of Commerce, Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce, Solvang Chamber of Commerce, Ventura Chamber of Commerce, Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, Port Hueneme Chamber of Commerce, Nipomo Chamber of Commerce, Guadalupe Chamber of Commerce, Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, San Simeon Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara, KEYT, KCOY San Luis Obispo, KCEE TV 20, KTAS, KSBY, Cumulus Broadcasting LLC , KSBY Channel 3 TV , KPMR, KTAS, KCOY Santa Mairia, New Times, Mustang Daily, Bay News, SLO City News, Coast News, Information Press, Tribune, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Maria Sun, Latino Today, Santa Maria Times, South Coast Beacon, Santa Barbara Daily Sound, Santa Barbara News-Press, Coastal View News, Santa Barbara News-Press, Ventura County Reporter, Vida Newspaper, Buenos Dias Newspaper, Christian News Connection, Cambrian Newspaper, Ventura County Star,