Friday, September 01, 2006
Hutchison not planning on September debate
Associated Press Advertisement
WASHINGTON — The room is booked and the invitations sent for a debate among the competitors for a Texas seat in the U.S. Senate. But the incumbent, Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, has not RSVPed.
The Dallas Women Lawyers Association invited Hutchison and her challengers to a Sept. 29 debate, hoping to piggyback on a newspaper editorial board meeting that would bring all three candidates to Dallas that day.
But so far only Hutchison's challengers, Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston attorney, and Libertarian Scott Jameson, a Plano real estate agent, have said they'll be there.
Hutchison has said she would debate this fall. But as the front-runner and incumbent seeking a third six-year term, she has the flexibility to pick the time and place.
Campaign press secretary James Bernsen said Hutchison hasn't committed to the debate because the Senate will be in session. "We have to keep that day free for the session," said Bernsen, adding that the editorial board meeting had not been scheduled.
Congress returns from its August break Sept. 8 and is expected to meet through the last week of September.
House and Senate members usually leave Washington and return to their districts on Thursdays. The debate is on a Friday.
But occasionally, the House and Senate will stay through the end of the week or work through a weekend to finish up last-minute business.
Possible issues the Senate could address are defense and homeland security appropriations, terrorism prosecutions, surveillance programs, port security and the appointments of a couple of circuit judges.
Hutchison still is working to get approval of a compromise Dallas and Fort Worth reached on the Wright Amendment, a law that restricts long-haul flights out of Dallas Love Field. She also has sponsored an immigration bill, although little is expected to happen on immigration before the elections.
Since winning the Democratic primary, Radnofsky has goaded Hutchison to a faceoff on the issues.
"She's afraid, flat out, she's afraid," Radnofsky said today.
Radnofsky was recruited by the University of Houston's debate program when she was 15 and competed on the national debate circuit during college, her campaign office said.
Rachel Montes, the Dallas Women Lawyers Association president, said the group has tried several times to schedule the debate but has run into scheduling conflicts, mostly with Hutchison.
She said the group is waiting to hear from Hutchison.
"We wanted to create an opportunity for the voters to be able to hear all of the candidates," Montes said.
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