3rd District candidates willing to debate Fleischmann

Authored By James Harrison

The 3rd District Republican primary may be eight months away, but candidates hoping to unseat Rep. Chuck Fleischmann have said they are ready to begin discussing political issues with the incumbent in a debate setting. 

Last Saturday, political blogger Joe Lance prompted discussion by saying on Twitter he hoped local organizations would plan a 3rd District debate. Weston Wamp replied:

“Just name the time and the place.”

Wamp later said he would “absolutely” be willing to debate with Fleischmann and any other candidates. 

“I hope there are several opportunities for voters to see all the candidates in a setting where we get to explain our positions on the issues,” Wamp said. “I expect that there will be debates, and multiple opportunities for voters for the 3rd District to see candidates in that type of format. I hope that the voters will demand it happens.”

Dr. Jean Howard-Hill, the only other candidate to announce a bid for the 3rd District seat, said that while the primary was still a long way off, she would welcome a debate as long as the questions came from district residents. 

“I think it’s a great idea,” Howard-Hill said. “I think it gives the people of the 3rd District the opportunity to hear what each candidate has to say, and I would be more than willing to participate. People want to know what they’re facing in 2012, and what the candidates would do.”

Fleischmann, following a press conference with the German Ambassador on Monday, declined to comment on potentially debating his challengers, saying he was intent working hard to focus on his job as a congressman. 

“I was sent to Washington, D.C., to get our fiscal house in order, to turn this country around, and to bring optimism,” Fleischmann said. “So I’m going to continue focusing on my job day in and day out, and forget about the politics. It’s the people’s seat, I’m going to work very hard, and I’ll just trust the judgement of people in the 3rd District at the appropriate time.”

Despite repeated requests, Fleischmann did not participate in any debates during his 2010 campaign.