Patch, WGTD Issue Invitation to Ryan and Zerban for October Debate
We're asking Congressman Paul Ryan and his Democratic challenger, Rob Zerban, to participate in a debate next month.
**Update 10 a.m. Sept. 12
On Tuesday, Patch issued a formal invitation to both campaigns for 7 p.m. Oct. 25. We anticipate the event will be held on the Kenosha campus of Gateway Technical College. WGTD will broadcast the debate live on 91.1FM.
Karthik Ganapathy, communications manager for the Zerban campaign, confirmed that Zerban is willing to participate in a forum with Ryan.
"Rob feels like debating Congressman Ryan is an obligation to the voters so they get a chance to hear from both candidates at the same time," he said.
The American Association of University Women has also asked the parties for a debate, possibly on Oct. 29, Ganapathy added.
Patch has been in contact with Ryan's office and campaign several times since this spring, when we first started thinking about a debate. At first, it looked like Oct. 11 might work, but after Ryan was tapped as Republican Mitt Romney's running mate, that date was taken for a debate with Vice President Joe Biden.
Zerban has posted an online petition calling for a debate with Ryan. According to Ganapathy, the petition was posted Monday and 2,000 residents have signed it in just about 24 hours.
"Rob feels that running for office is a solemn obligation, but that Paul Ryan is looking at his seat in the First District as a fall-back, and that's offensive. It should be offensive to residents, too," he said.
We're hoping to hear from the Ryan campaign again soon about Oct. 25 or another date that will work instead.
But, a story running in The Boston Globe Wednesday says that Ryan may not be able to work a debate into his schedule and he instead might submit responses in writing.
Reporter Matt Viser talked to Kevin Seifert, Ryan's congressional campaign manager, and he said scheduling a debate remains up in the air.
“It’s unclear what’s going to happen. It just depends on what his responsibilities are and what the dates are,” Seifert is quoted as saying.
Patch has a message into Ryan's campaign, and we will update this story when we hear back from them.