With two weeks left before the August 7 primary, candidates are scrambling to reach out to every possible vote, attending event after event and forum after forum.
But time is running out for candidates to appear at the same time and in the same place. In the 2nd congressional district Republican primary, the last such opportunity may have taken place Tuesday, when Ann Wagner and Dr. Randy Jotte spoke at a St. Louis County Republican Women’s forum.
While they talked health care, energy, and the economy, the most heated portion of the forum came as the candidates argued over campaign tactics in the closing days.
Jotte claims he’s been seeking a debate since March, through press releases and contacts between the campaigns. Recently, he took to YouTube and sent a certified letter.
“There will be bills where we have to say yes or no, Aye or Nay and those are substantive issues,” Jotte said after the forum. "Maybe it’s Iran, maybe it’s Medicare, maybe it's Medicaid. If and when ObamaCare is repealed we need to know, here’s a proposal to replace it; is it a yay or a nay?”
Wagner, the frontrunner in the race who debated Ed Martin several times before Martin moved on to run for Attorney General, and clearly has more to lose by sharing the stage with a primary opponent at this point in the campaign, called it “shameless” and a sign of a desperate campaign.
“For you to issue a YouTube challenge a few days ago for a debate, I find a political gimmick and a ploy that frankly is beneath the people in the second district,” she said during the event, also critical of the challenge’s timing on the heels of the death of her father.
Wagner plans to launch a new round of television advertising Wednesday, and says she’s focused on reaching out to voters and debating the issues with them over these final days, if not her opponents.
Jotte said he knew of no more joint events left on the campaign schedule before August 7 but pledged to be available for a debate if the opportunity presented itself, pointing out that a much more heated Congressional campaign between Representative Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan will see at least one debate next week prior to Primary day.