Incumbents Shun Political Debates

Update: Randy Forbes (R-VA) Cowardice

Fausz, a Chesterfield County resident, said he sent certified letters to the Chesapeake Republican in August and September seeking a debate but hasn’t received a response. Fausz, the manager of a weekly newspaper, said he asked Forbes about a debate last month when the two crossed paths at a festival in Chester.

Fausz described the conversation as cordial and brief. “He said ‘I’m sure someone will get back to you sooner or later.’ I said, ‘Can’t you give me an answer?… “He said ‘It’s not a priority.’ ”

Forbes’ campaign spokesperson was noncommittal.

“Our office has received the request, and is currently considering it in the context of difficulties with the congressman’s already packed schedule, which is typically booked months in advance,” spokesperson Hailey Sadler wrote in an email Thursday.



In many of these cases, incumbents are rejecting debates they, or their predecessors, had readily agreed to in the past. Voters who rely on debates to clarify their thinking, to connect with a candidate or to get an answer to the question candidates choose not to discuss on the campaign trail, will have to make their decisions without that input.

The troubling trend of debate-skipping is not limited to one party, one region, or one type of officeholder. It is evident in both close-fought campaigns and blowouts alike.

Why give a chance to ‘look bad’ in the public eye?  “What… and give up this gig?”