Tarryl Clark, the DFL candidate in Minnesota’s 6th District race, is challenging GOP incumbent U.S. House Rep. Michele Bachmann to participate in eight Town Hall Forums.
Clark is also asking Bachmann to show up to tonight’s debate in Bachmann’s hometown of Stillwater, as well as an October 18th debate in Monticello.
Bachmann’s camp has agreed to three debates, all in the final week before the election.
UPDATED 11:50 AM: Sergio Gor, Bachmann’s spokesman, says the following in response to the new invitations:
We have announced our debate schedule. The Congresswoman is in the district every day talking with voters. Congresswoman Bachmann has had an ongoing dialogue with her constituents for many years and continues to value voter input.
Clark points out that Bachmann is only doing one public debate that members of her district can attend.
Here’s what Clark said about Bachmann on a conference call with reporters:
Is she afraid of coming and talking to me? Is she afraid of what people are going to ask her? What I hear over and over again is that she’s not making herself available. And I hear this from Republicans. I hear this from Independents. I hear this from Democrats. She must be afraid of something, and I can’t figure out what it is.
Clark and Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson will debate tonight in Stillwater. Bachmann’s campaign has indicated she will not attend.
Clark’s spokeswoman, Carrie Lucking, says Anderson is not invited to the eight new Town Hall forums the campaign is putting together.
“Voters have the opportunity to see Tarryl and Bob with one another on four different occasions. What they lack right now is the ability to see Tarryl and Congresswoman Bachmann,” said Lucking.
Clark says the Town Hall forums will take place regardless of Bachmann’s participation. “We want to hear from the community,” Lucking said.
The first Town Hall forum will be this Thursday in Woodbury at 7 p.m.
A Rasmussen poll released yesterday shows that 49 percent of likely voters find “most political debates to be informative.” The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on October 8-9, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Meanwhile, I can’t recall Bachmann’s last interview with local media, though she’s been talking to national media. She appeared yesterday on Fox Business News. Bachmann did the interview in a studio just up the street from MPR. She has declined two MPR News interview requests in the past week.
Bachmann also appeared last week on Fox talking about U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
UPDATED 11:56 AM: Sergio Gor says “We will have an interview with a local station this week, and a local paper too.”