Bachmann agrees to three debates, Graves wants more

The two candidates running for Congress in Minnesota’s 6th District are battling over the number of debates that should be held this election year.

A spokesman for Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign says she has agreed to three debates. They are: a St. Cloud Chamber debate on Oct. 30 at the St. Cloud Convention Center, an MPR News debate on The Daily Circuit on Nov.1 and a KSTP-TV debate on Nov. 4.

But Democrat Jim Graves wants more debates. Adam Graves, campaign manager for Graves, says his campaign is requesting a total of seven debates over the next 47 days. He said they want a debate held in each county of the 6th Congressional District, which includes St. Cloud and several northern and western Twin Cities suburbs.

“She did 15 debates when she was running for president, and we think that the constituents who pay her salary are certainly worthy of the same amount of attention,” Adam Graves said.

Graves said they have not yet agreed to the number of debates or specific debates.

Bachmann’s campaign manager Chase Kroll says it’s his understanding that Graves committed to the three debates the Bachmann campaign did.

“We’ve set up three debates and invited Graves – one live, one radio, and one TV. We were told he’d do all of them. Now he’s saying maybe he won’t,” Kroll wrote in an e-mail. “Why won’t Graves keep his word?”

Kroll didn’t say whether Bachmann would agree to any more debates.

Tussling over the number and location of debates is not unusual in campaigns.

Incumbents typically prefer a smaller number of debates while challengers call for more as they try to raise their political profile heading into Election Day.