Behind in the polls, Bills calls on Klobuchar to debate

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills told Morning in America radio host William Bennett this morning that he’s polling about 26 percentage points behind DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Bills touted his background as an economics teacher and said his standing will improve once voters get to know him.

“Nobody knows me,” Bills said as he referred to the campaign’s polling data. “What we find out is that once people understand that I grew up blue collar, I actually have been in a union my whole life though I’m a coauthor on Right to Work, I’m a public school teacher who is still taught his class and stayed in the classroom, I’m a citizen legislator, all of a sudden my [favorability] to [unfavorability] goes 71-13.”

Bills is working to increase that profile on several levels. He told Bennett that he’d love to see Mitt Romney “stand on the stage with a public school teacher and union member and campaign because it shows that things are tightening up here. ”

Bills is also pushing for more debates with Klobuchar. Bills said there’s one debate scheduled at this point – FarmFest in Redwood Falls in August. He said he’d like to get other debates on the schedule.

“I would say that I need your listeners to help out so I can actually build my name ID so that I can actually be big enough to say ‘Hey let’s sit down and actually talk about the economy,” Bills said. “This big powerful attorney, this big U.S. Senator should be able to sit down and have a discussion with a little old economy teacher from Rosemount High School.”

Bills also said he’d love to have a Lincoln/Douglas style debate between himself and Klobuchar. MPR News has invited Bills and Klobuchar to appear at a debate at the State Fair and to the station’s traditional last debate on the Sunday before Election Day.

Klobuchar’s campaign spokespeople didn’t immediately return calls to discuss their debate plans. I’ll update if/when they get back to me.

Update: A spokesman for Klobuchar’s campaign says they’re confirmed for FarmFest and will appear at MPR’s State Fair debate (date and time To Be Determined). He also said they’re working on other debates for the fall.

Here’s Kurt Bills’ full appearance on Bennett’s show.