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Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.) Suddenly Wants to Debate Republican Challenger

5 years ago
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Perpetually vulnerable incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.) is once again facing a tough challenge, this time from Republican Bill Flores.

Every two years, it seems, Edwards, who represents a conservative Texas district, is deemed vulnerable. But this year, even "safe" Democrats are suddenly in danger, making one wonder if Edwards' luck is about to end.

Clearly, Edwards won't go down without a fight. In an interesting turn of events, Edwards, the incumbent, has challenged Flores to a dozen debates (one in each of the 12 counties in the district) between now and Election Day.

A Huffington Post blogger recently reported that, "Edwards' spokeswoman Megan Jacobs said Edwards' campaign wants to break the precedent Flores has set of shying away from the media in public debate forums." This made it seem like Flores was ducking Edwards.

But while Rep. Edwards insists that Flores is "shying away from the media," the story is a bit more complicated. In fact, Edwards' debate challenge came in response to Flores' criticism that Edwards has failed to hold a single town hall during the August recess.

According to The Bryan-College Station Eagle:

Tuesday's challenge came after Flores, a Republican, criticized Edwards for ignoring Flores' calls to host a town hall meeting in the district during a congressional recess.

"Edwards is asking you to vote for him in November, but for the past year, he has refused to let you meet with him," Flores said in a statement. "This is a dereliction of duty and shows his contempt for the people he claims to represent."

He said Edwards was avoiding meeting with voters because he didn't want to answer for "his steadfast support for the job-killing agenda of [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [President Barack] Obama."

"Before we consider such an offer [to debate], Chet Edwards will have to first stop running false negative advertising and hold 12 town hall meetings himself as a congressman," Flores said. "It is not our responsibility to help Chet Edwards make up for the time he has ignored the concerns and the people of our district."

With incumbent Democrats feeling the heat, you can expect plenty of interesting stunts between now and Election Day.

What is more, many Democratic incumbents -- who usually hold the cards -- may now find themselves playing against type. Clearly, Flores is now behaving as the incumbent, while Edwards is fighting to get his name in print.

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