Case wants debate with Akaka
The Senate hopeful says the incumbent has yet to commit
U.S. Rep. Ed Case intensified his campaign to debate fellow Democrat Sen. Daniel Akaka before the September primary, saying the incumbent senator has declined several opportunities to face off.
On the day in January when he announced his campaign to unseat Akaka, Case called on the senator to debate before the Sept. 23 primary. In a news release yesterday, Case said he and Akaka should debate many times.
"I offer and ask you to commit now to a series of mutual debates/joint appearances across Hawaii over the four brief months until the election, on and before all of state and local media, community organizations, and our communities themselves," Case said in an open letter to Akaka.
Case said Akaka has "thus far declined" several joint appearances or invitations to debate, including meetings with the Hawaii Publishers Association and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Andy Winer, Akaka's campaign spokesman, said it is too early to say what Akaka will do, but "we are planning to have events with Ed Case and we are planning to participate in forums."
Winer called Case's statement that Akaka has declined debates to be a "gross overstatement to say we have refused joint appearances."
"We are looking to sit side by side in forums and compare our votes on Iraq, the Patriot Act and the Bush tax cut," Winer said.
He said that the Akaka campaign has not yet rejected any invitations to debate, but Case said Akaka refused to appear in a joint televised appearance on PBS-Hawaii and instead agreed only to separate interviews on the same day.
Winer did say that he thought Akaka would appear with Case during the Senate's August recess before the September primary election.