Recently my opponent began running radio ads saying he never refused to debate me. But a close review of the steps taken by our campaign shows that he has delayed and dodged debating over the past three months.
My first invitation to Rep. Tranel was through Facebook on July 11th.
However, since we aren’t friends on Facebook (nor had I sent him a request to be friends), I thought it was possible he hadn’t received the message. So, three days later I sent him a letter in the mail. I sent it using priority service so that I would receive a delivery confirmation receipt that it had been received.
I wrote the letter July 14th, sent it July 15th, and it was delivered to his residence on July 16th. In the letter I requested a response by July 25th, so that we would have adequate time to schedule moderators for August, September, and October debates.
By August 17th, he had not responded, so I went to Madison to ask him in person at his office. However, the capitol was locked to visitors, so I called him on his phone. There was no answer so I left a voicemail, as you can see in this video.
That same day, I sent him a second message on Facebook (and this time I also sent a friend request).
Finally, two days later on August 19th I received a response from his staff:
Note here that his staff said he would be “happy to consider” a debate, which is clearly not a commitment. Additionally, he adds some qualifiers about the type of debate he would participate in, including a new one I hadn’t thought of – an “ . . . organization from the 49th Assembly district.” I was disappointed that Rep. Tranel hadn’t reached out to me directly, nor accepted my original invitation in July. But despite this, my campaign manager and I reached out to three parties who we could think of right away:
Boscobel Library (whose staff had hosted a debate in 2016)
QueenB Radio in Platteville
WRCO Radio in Richland Center
However, none of these parties ended up extending an invitation to debate.
On September 3rd, we received an invitation from the Sinsinawa Mound sisters to attend a Zoom forum, and I accepted that invitation. Rep. Tranel has implied this was a debate. However, we were not invited to attend on the same day, so there was no exchange between myself and Rep. Tranel. Also, this was a private forum for the sisters, so it was not available for recording or public viewing.
Finally, on September 16th, we received an invitation from Big 93.7 FM. This station broadcasts from Monroe, which is out of our district. But it has coverage in our district including Benton, Cuba City, Hazel Green, Livingston, and Platteville. Big 93.7 also makes audio files available, so that it could be used by each campaign on our respective websites and Facebook pages.
We accepted the invitation right away, for an October 14th debate. After two weeks of waiting for a confirmation, my campaign manager contacted Big 93.7 FM to see if Rep. Tranel had agreed to participate. Big 93.7 FM staff had contacted Rep. Tranel multiple times over a period of two weeks, and in the end he declined to debate.
As you can see from this evidence, Rep. Tranel has delayed and dodged debating multiple times. Respectful debates are an important way to exchange ideas, giving voters an opportunity to compare their choices on the ballot. In the future, I hope Rep. Tranel takes the opportunity to take part in this time-honored political tradition.