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.

  • Leonard Mehl

    The debates should be very entertaining given that Rep. Klobuchar has supported every policy that the President has pushed through in the past 40 months. Unfortunately, those policies have been shown by our own CBO reviews and year to year outcomes that they have failed to improve our economy and have made it worse for the middle class by supporting tax hikes. For example: the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) includes 21 new taxes. These and other policies added 10 times the number of federal workers than what we saw in 8 years with President Reagan. So, how does she debate her record and value in order to continue to represent us?

  • BJ

    @Leonard – No major personal issues and she has done what she said she would. Why would someone who voted for her 6 years ago not do it again. Even if someone answered that they thought they should take a look at a new candidate, will they like the other people on the ballot?

    I’m not a fan of Amy but she hasn’t done anything to make me look for an alternative (ps I didn’t vote for her 6 years ago – the owner of ‘Gus the big red bus’ was my man).

  • David Poretti

    @ Leonard – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (yes, I know, it is staffed by federal workers…), not counting military personnel, President Reagan started his administration with 2,161,000 federal workers. When he left, there were 2,222,000 (a net increase of 61,000).

    When President Obama took office, there were 2,094,000 workers, to date there are 2,133,000 (a net increase of 39,000).

    Do you care to reconsider your claim that President Obama has hired 10 times as many federal workers than President Reagan?

    As an interesting aside, President Clinton started with 2,157,000 and left with 1,778,000 (a net DECREASE of 379,000). President Bush started with 1,778,000 and left with 2,094,000 (a net increase of 316,000).

    By the way, the areas that have the most new hires under President Obama are with the V.A. Hospitals (lots of wounded vets coming home needing care), the DoD (lots of vets coming home needing care) and Homeland Security (lots of scared people needing care).

    When Bills and Klobuchar do debate, a fact check team as part of the rebuttal process would be interesting.

  • Mac Hall

    THANKS, David for pointing out the changes in federal workers.

    IMO, the statement the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) includes 21 new taxes needs evaluation. Remember this is a broad group of changes that impact a variety of programs … some are not “new” but instead increases in rates … but all are targeted – for example, some could be considered “user fees” such as the Tanning Bed tax which has been implemented already which has not destroyed the industry … or the Medical Device Tax (if you do not get a knee replacement, you do not pay and since the Supreme Court ruling, the industry has been projected to grow regardless of the tax). Some are increases in tax rates … for example, additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent — what’s the problem with that – after all, the H S A was set-up for medical expenses, and if someone wants to use those funds for other purposes, that should be discouraged … and if you use all your HAS monies as planned, then there is no impact.

    If people look at all these tax changes (one has already been repealed), they will learn that they most likely are not affected … of course, if you are a Health Insurance executive with a salary greater than $500,000 and making $250,000 in investment income (dividends) with a “Cadillac” insurance policy, I might be affected … well at least in 2018.

    BTW, who else is going to participate in the August 7th FarmFest debate ?

  • Tim White

    @ David Poretti — For clarity, do your numbers include only fed workers? I understand that there has been significant growth in “consultants.” Perhaps that’s where this obvious disparity arises?

    IF that’s the case, then it seems to be a shell game to me as the services are still being provided to — and the costs are still being borne by — the American people.

  • Sanjay

    Klobuchar’s voting record is simple. More centralization, more taxes, more plunder and more control.

    How will you audit 4-Trillion of budget every year at Washington DC? Which citizen has time?

    Why not return all powers back to States and Cities? I can drive to the local City Hall, Town Hall to question local leaders.

    I can help audit a local city budget of 4-Million $. I cant do 4-Trillion.

    All this federal money is plundered from middle class and poor and transferred to Banks, Bureaucrats and Ethnic lobbies.

    Kurt Bills will help cut the departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, and Interior.

    All these functions can be handled at State and City level. Power comes closer to people. Less federal taxes, less federal regulations and more freedom.