Friday, August 20, 2010

Telling, to say the least

Blackburn refuses to debate Rabidoux
Clarksville candidate request ignored

Greg Rabidoux's request for a debate with his opponent for the 7th District seat in the U.S. House, Republican incumbent Marsha Blackburn, has been rejected.

Rabidoux, an assistant professor of American politics and constitutional law at Austin Peay State University, said he issued the call for a debate following the Aug. 5 primary, in which both candidates ran unopposed.

Rabidoux said the call for a debate came after a "concerned citizen" posted a message on Blackburn's Facebook page.

"Our elected officials are responsible to the people who elected them. A debate is their chance to tell us what they have done for us, and we can decide if we want more of the same," the post said, according to Rabidoux's campaign.

Blackburn's campaign spokeswoman, Darcy Anderson, said the post was from a staunch Rabidoux supporter.

As of Thursday evening, Rabidoux still had gotten no response to the request, which he said was sent in a certified letter that was repeatedly rejected. Anderson said she signed for the letter.

The letter, dated Aug. 6, says it is "both responsible and responsive action" to give voters in the district "an opportunity to evaluate both of us as prospective applicants to the job of representing them."

Rabidoux gave Blackburn an Aug. 16 deadline for a response.

In a prepared statement responding to the request for comments about the debate, Blackburn's campaign said she wouldn't have anything to do with Rabidoux because he might vote for Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.

"Tennesseans know that to stop out of control spending and the exploding debt, we have to fire Nancy Pelosi," the statement reads. "They aren't interested in any candidate who would give her one more vote for the speaker's chair, and neither is Marsha. Instead, Marsha is working as a conservative leader across the state and across the nation to make sure Americans reclaim their government for the next generation."

Rabidoux issued a lengthy counterattack Thursday to Blackburn's response, highlighted by what Rabidoux says is a disregard for voters.

"It seems that again, Blackburn is more concerned with Washington/Beltway politics than with the working people of the 7th District," Rabidoux said in a release from his campaign. "While she is concerned about Nancy Pelosi, I am concerned with creating jobs and connecting educational opportunities with economic growth."

In a later response, Rabidoux added, "Marsha Blackburn is now claiming to know what all Tennesseans want or don't want, there are a whole lot of Tennesseans tonight asking a simple but profound question, 'What is Marsha Blackburn so afraid of?'"