October 17, 2004
DeLay to duck debate

No debate, says DeLay.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Friday said that he would not debate Democratic challenger Richard Morrison before the Nov. 2 election.


As a challenger with no experience in electoral politics, Morrison, an environmental lawyer, is trying to raise his profile.

On Friday, DeLay said that his latest poll put his support at 56 percent, while Morrison’s was much lower. “His name ID is nothing,” DeLay said.

Morrison says he has raised $500,000 — more than all of DeLay’s past challengers put together. In a bid to introduce himself to voters, Morrison has been running television spots portraying himself as a regular guy.

A debate with DeLay also would raise Morrison’s profile. There is also the fact that some voters might like to see the candidates go head to head before deciding whom to vote for.

“I want to know why he’s ducking me,” Morrison said last week in a visit to The Daily News. “What’s he scared of?”

At least so far, DeLay, the No. 2 man in the House, has calculated that Morrison has more to gain from a debate than DeLay has to lose by avoiding one. “A debate would be for his benefit, not for mine,” DeLay said of Morrison.

What a chicken. Apparently, he's afraid that if people have the opportunity to directly compare his positions with Morrison's, he'll lose support. Of course, he probably has a good reason for believing that, doesn't he?

He also said that a debate with Morrison would go largely unnoticed. “Unfortunately, debates in this area have never had an impact because media doesn’t cover them,” DeLay said. “Television never covers them. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and you show up to a forum where there are more candidates at the forum than constituents. I’d much rather be out with constituents, meeting them and going to events.”

Given that this story is in the Galveston News and not the Chronicle, I have to agree with him about the impact of a debate. And that's a damn shame, too. Whoever you support, we'd all be better off if there were more real debates that had real attention paid to them. Of course, given all the controversy surrounding DeLay and the fact that Morrison has given him his strongest challenge ever, maybe this time there'd be more interest in a debate. But we'll never know, will we?

Oh, and though the story doesn't specify, I wonder if this means DeLay is ducking out of the candidate forum in Clear Lake on Tuesday? I'll try to find out.

Thanks to reader Burt for the tip.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 17, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack