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

Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch and WGTD Radio are working together to sponsor and organize a debate between Congressman Paul Ryan and his Democratic challenger, Rob Zerban.

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 , 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.

Chris Wright September 12, 2012 at 05:54 PM
At this point I don't know if there ever will be a constant third party that plays a major part in partisan elections. It all comes down to dollars for good or bad. Unless you have somebody that is very wealthy (Perot, Jesse Ventura, etc.) name ID is hard to establish. The dollars follow the two major parties. Without money you cannot get your message out on anything above the local level.
Eric September 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Ryan has no obligation to debate Zerban his top priority it to help Elect Romney to the Whitehouse. It just a wee bit more important. He's only still on the ballot because of legal reasons. As for third parties until one figures out that you have to build a party from the ground up instead wasting time trying to win presidenital races in which they will only garner a few percentage points of the vote it will never happen. I don't think our system of government would support a third party for very long either is they inevitably would end up replacing one of the existing parties.
Heather Asiyanbi September 12, 2012 at 07:30 PM
@Eric - I disagree about the need to debate. If Paul Ryan is serious about running to retain (or if anyone were doing this, really) his congressional seat even as he's on the ticket in the presidential race, then he should want to debate his opponent and give voters the opportunity to hear both candidates answer the same questions at the same time for an honest comparison.
The Anti-Alinsky September 12, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Gee Mark, If all our Congressman were only concerned with their district, who would run for President or Vice President. I know you said "more concerned", but the only better way to represent us would as President, a position I am sure he can achieve.
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