The debate about debates, such as it is, is continuing between congressional candidates Keith Fitzgerald and Vern Buchanan.
Democratic challenger Fitzgerald on Tuesday chided Republican incumbent Buchanan for turning down an invitation for a joint appearance at a lunchtime meeting of the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club on Oct. 18.
Kim Noyes, executive director of Tiger Bay, said Buchanan had a scheduling conflict with another planned forum, a televised debate co-sponsored by the Bradenton Herald, which is set for 11 a.m. the same day. Noyes said there isn't time before the Nov. 6 election to reschedule.
Fitzgerald's campaign manager Adam Scott said Tuesday afternoon that Fitzgerald would be at the Herald debate.
In a statement, Fitzgerald's campaign manager said Buchanan's decision to not appear before the Tiger Bay Club comes after he didn't respond to Fitzgerald's call for three issue-specific debates on Medicare, ethics reform and job creation.
"This is what you would expect from a vulnerable incumbent," said Adam Scott, repeating what has become a familiar litany from the Fitzgerald camp during the campaign.
"After voting twice to put Medicare in a voucher-like program, manipulating the tax code to benefit corporate special interests and the ultra-wealthy, co-sponsoring legislation that would have narrowed the definition of rape under federal law, skipping a court ordered deposition, refusing to release his taxes, and being the subject of numerous lawsuits and investigations, it is no wonder that Congressman Buchanan would avoid debating a candidate that has a track record of reforming government and fighting for the middle class, like Keith Fitzgerald," Scott said.
In response, Buchanan's campaign repeated what it has been saying, as well:
"We have agrees to two debates. One in Bradenton and one in Sarasota. Both will be broadcast district wide and posted online. We hope Keith accepts so the voters can contrast Vern's positive agenda to grow the economy and strengthen Medicare with Keith's support of Nancy Pelosi's agenda that raided Medicare to pay for Obamacare, raised taxes and wasted $700 billion on a failed stimulus."