The news that Sen. Mike Crapo has declined to meet his GOP opponent in a statewide televised debate May 16 has prompted a gambit from Crapo's likely Democratic opponent in November.
Tom Sullivan says he'll be glad to debate Republican Claude "Skip" Davis.
"I can certainly understand why incumbent Mike Crapo doesn't want to come back to Idaho and have an honest discussion about the issues facing Idaho right now," Sullivan said in a news release Thursday. "If I'd botched the economy the way he has, I wouldn't be anxious to face the voters either. But I'll tell you right now, I'm here and I'm ready and if Skip wants to talk let's do it."
Crapo's campaign manager, Jake Ball, replied: "Mike fights for lower taxes, less government, and more freedom -- all of which will help the economy recover and create jobs. The last thing this country and this state needs is one more vote in Congress for more spending, more taxes and less prosperity. Mike's record of opposing federal stimulus and bailouts along with representing Idahoans with commonsense and fiscally responsible votes speaks for itself."
Sullivan's campaign pitched the idea to Idaho Public TV anchor Thanh Tan, who said she passed the matter on to the sponsors of the Idaho Debates -- her colleagues at Idaho Public TV, the Idaho Press Club and the League of Women Voters of Idaho.
But Tan said a debate between a Republican and a Democrat in advance of the May 25 primary was "very unlikely."
"We are separating the GOP and Democratic debates," she said in an e-mail. "Primaries are primaries... Sullivan will have his chance to debate Crapo in the fall assuming they both win their primaries."
Sullivan, of Tetonia, seems a likely winner. His opponent in the Democratic primary is William Bryk, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and didn't meet the debate sponsors' standards for an active campaign.
Kevin Richert, the Statesman's editorial page editor, took Crapo to task in an editorial Thursday for declining to debate Davis.
Crapo hasn't appeared in a debate in 12 years; he was unopposed in 2004.
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