DENTON, Tex. – In a state where many Republican incumbents feel comfortable about their re-election prospects, Texas Democrats are finding it difficult to get their political opponents on a stage to debate the issues. Governor Rick Perry has used a rather weak excuse to avoid Democrat Bill White until he sees all of White’s tax statements, a stand on principle a Denton-Record Chronicle OP-Ed piece accused Perry of having “never done … in his entire political life.” In the North Central part of the state Democratic challenger Neil Durrance to District 26’s Michael Burgess has been getting the run around until today from his opponent. After numerous requests Republican Burgess has only now replied to Durrance’s challenge for an open debate allowing voters to compare the candidacy of these two men.
In an interview earlier Monday with Mr. Durrance’s Director of Logistics and Internal Operations, Royann Cox, I was informed that several attempts were made not only by Durrance staffers but by the Denton County League of Women Voters who are trying to establish a workable date around the congressman’s schedule. Burgess’ office said they could not make an Oct. 7th date requested by Denton LOWV, according to Kenna Griffin with the Durrance campaign, and as of this morning had not called back to confirm an Oct. 14th date. Discover Denton cable program host, John Paul Eddy, has also contacted the Burgess office and issued an invitation to appear on his local cable show. “No response to date,” said Ms. Cox. She further informed me that “one of our volunteers in the Frisco area tried to get Burgess to appear at a public forum, only to be told by his staff that Mr. Burgess was ‘evented out’.”
An earlier call by me on Monday to Mr. Burgess’ campaign manager Kim Garza out of Denton County had not been returned to respond to these statements by the Durrance campaign. However, after a second attempt via a fax request later that day to Burgess’ Lewisville office, I did get some indirect confirmation on a debate time. Cox e-mailed me to let me know that someone from Burgess’ office called them and agreed to set up a debate on Oct. 28th. Exact time and location were not specified and it is unclear at this time if the 4 other candidates running on Libertarian and Independent tickets will be included.
Mr. Burgess has included his name on Michelle Bachman’s Congressional Tea Party Caucus list. These are elected officials of the Republican Party who advocate Tea Party issues and appear adamantly opposed to any and all legislation enacted by congressional Democrats, even those aimed at stimulating a sluggish U.S. economy by creating jobs. Jobs are perhaps the biggest priority for many voters this year.
Neil Durrance’s campaign has said he supports the effort President Obama is making to stimulate the economy though small business loans and tax incentives for new technologies in the renewable energy sector. Burgess’ campaign has made no obvious mention in the media or on his website about what he intends to do concerning job creation. As a supporter of Tea Party ideas one might be curious to find out too if Burgess favors eliminating Social Security and Medicare on Constitutional grounds?
Should this October 28th date for a debate hold up between the two campaigns, the voter will be able to see where the candidates stand on these important issues for North Texans.