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We’ll only debate you on our terms

From the inbox:

Democratic SBOE candidates accept yet another debate invitation – by all-Republican panel

Earlier: Republicans turn down debate after debate and hide from voters, claiming sponsor League of Women Voters is “too Democratic”

Note: The following statement is in reaction to yesterday’s announcement, made by the Texas Business and Education Coalition, that the organization will host a debate of the major party candidates for the SBOE races in districts 5 and 10, marking the first time of many attempts that the Republican nominees for those seats have not ducked a debate invitation.

Harold Cook, a spokesman for both Democratic candidates, said the following today:

“Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau are happy to debate their opponents and face voters any time, anywhere, unlike either of their opponents. There is no stronger evidence of this than the Democrats’ willingness to enthusiastically participate in a debate at which Bill Hammond, one of Texas’ leading Republicans, is among the moderators. The other two moderators have voted in Republican primary elections as well, leaving little doubt that the Republican SBOE candidates are only playing because they’ve stacked the deck.

“Despite the fact that the Republican SBOE candidates are simply exploiting this opportunity to claim that they are also willing to debate, Jennings and Bell-Metereau are nonetheless enthusiastic about the opportunity. They trust that the organizers and moderators will run a fair and enlightening event.

“Contrast that to the Republican SBOE candidates, who ducked a debate sponsored by the well-respected League of Women Voters, and treated as a joke another one sponsored by LULAC, an organization with more than 75 years of proud non-partisan achievement.

“Jennings and Bell-Metereau are more than happy to debate, even if it means participating in a Republican debate. Here’s hoping the two seemingly shy Republican opponents show up ready to admit to their extremist views, even to the Republican allies packing the room.”

See here and here for background. Debate ducking is a national phenomenon this year. I’ve included the press release from the Texas Business and Education Coalition beneath the fold, which needs to be seen to be believed. Yes, it really was DONE IN ALL CAPS, and it includes at least four misspellings that I spotted – “vying”, “incumbent”, “assistant”, and (my personal favorite) Cynthia Dunbar‘s maiden name. You really can’t make this stuff up.

The following was distributed yesterday by the Texas Business and Education Coalition.

Texas Business and Education Coalition

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State Board of Education (SBOE) Candidates to Debate
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CANDIDATES VIEING FOR TEXAS SBOE SEATS IN DISTRICT’S 5 AND 10 WILL FACE OFF AGAINST EACH OTHER ON OCTOBER 11 AT THE OFFICES OF THE TEXAS BUSINESS AND EDUCATION COALITION (TBEC).

THE DEBATES, HOSTED BY TBEC, WILL FEATURE INCUMBANT REPUBLICAN KEN MERCER, DISTRICT 5 AND DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER REBECCA BELL-METEREAU.

IN THE DISTRICT 10 RACE, INCUMBANT REPUBLICAN CYNTHIA NOLAD DUNBAR IS NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION. THE TWO CHALLENGERS FOR THE DISTRICT 10 SEAT ARE REPUBLICAN MARSHA FARNEY AND DEMOCRAT JUDY JENNINGS.

THE DEBATES WILL BE MODERATED BY AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN EDITORIAL WRITER ALBERTA PHILLIPS. CANDIDATES WILL BE QUESTIONED BY A THREE MEMBER PANEL THAT WILL INCLUDE TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS (TAB) PRESIDENT AND CEO, BILL HAMMOND; TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL BOARDS (TASB) ASSISSTANT DIRECTOR FOR GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, JULIE SHIELDS; AND TBEC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KEN ZORNES.

THE DISTRICT 5 DEBATE WILL BEGIN AT 9:30 AM FOLLOWED BY THE DISTRICT 10 CANDIDATES AT 10:45 AM.

THE TBEC OFFICES ARE IN THE WELLS FARGO TOWER LOCATED AT 400 WEST 15TH STREET. THE DEBATES WILL TAKE PLACE IN THE THIRD FLOOR AUDITORIUM.

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