By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
Democrat Shelli Yoder challenged incumbent Republican Todd Young to 13 debates ahead of the November runoff for the 9th District U.S. House seat.
Yoder proposed the “town hall-style debates” to be held in each of the 13 counties that comprise the district.
“Our form of representative democracy relies upon a well-informed public to make rational choices about its future at election time,” Yoder stated in a news release, which she said was left at Young’s Bloomington office Tuesday.
“That’s why candidate debates are so important.”
Young campaign manager Trevor Foughty didn’t confirm if the first-term Republican from Bloomington would participate in all or any of the proposed debates.
He criticized the manner in which the proposal was provided to the Young campaign, and what Foughty feels are the reasons behind the challenge.
“Our opponent delivered a letter to our office less than 15 minutes before sending out a press release, and that letter asked us to contact them even while omitting contact information,” Foughty said in an email.
“Given those facts, it’s hard to view this request as anything more than political theater.”
The Yoder campaign referred to the 2010 election when Young challenged then incumbent Baron Hill to a series of public forums.
“Since Mr. Young is already on record as saying the public deserves as many debates as possible and that they should be held in a town hall type format, there is no reason for him to reject my challenge,” Yoder said.
Hill agreed to two debates — one in Jasper and the other in Bloomington — in 2010 after Young requested the forums.
Foughty didn’t directly address whether Young was opposed to any debates this year, or if the response was simply based on Yoder’s proposal of 13 forums.
“Hoosiers deserve leaders who are willing to engage on real issues, not political candidates grasping for headlines,” Foughty said.