In Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District race, Democrat Shelli Yoder is calling on Republican incumbent Todd Young to get serious about a series of debates she has proposed.
Last month, Yoder challenged Young to 13 town-hall-style debates, one in each county in the southern Indiana district. In response, the Young campaign called the request a political stunt meant to gain media attention because Yoder’s staff delivered a letter requesting the debates only 15 minutes before sending it to the press.
Yoder told WFPL in a recent interview that the two camps met since her initial request, but she now accuses Young’s campaign of “stalling” and “wasting time” while voters want to hear the issues.
“People in the Ninth District are wondering where their congressman is, and how he stands on the issues that are most important to us,” Yoder said in a news release. “He chooses not to make himself available for these debates. Seniors are nervous about the Young/Ryan Plan to drastically cut and change Medicare, even Social Security. Parents are concerned about receiving affordable health care for their children. Ninth District Hoosiers are struggling to pay their bills while Mr. Young supports tax cuts for the wealthy. He prioritizes Todd Akin’s radical social agenda over the needs of his constituents. These are the issues I’m asked about every day on the campaign trail, and people deserve to hear from Mr. Young, who claims to represent them.”
Young campaign manager Trevor Foughty says the Yoder camp is insistent on making debate negotiations public and Young is interested in having debates this election year.
“We’ve met with them and we’re working out a plan to have debates that are beneficial to voters,” he says. “We mutually agreed not to negotiate through the media in order to keep a level of trust between our campaigns. It’s disappointing that they seem to be reneging on that agreement, but we intend to stand by it. We have no comment beyond that.”
In the 2010 congressional contest, Young challenged then-Congressman Baron Hill to several debates in the general election, but the two only met twice. Despite Hill’s reluctance to hold as many debates as requested, Young went on to defeat the Democratic incumbent in that contest.
“Two years ago, Mr. Young challenged Baron Hill to seven debates, yet now he seems to believe these debate opportunities are no longer of importance. I couldn’t disagree more,” says Yoder. “I call on Todd Young to leave the partying at the Republican National Convention in Florida and start working with our campaign to set dates and times for debates and town halls.”