Haugen says Herrera Beutler is dodging debates

In a biting press release, Democratic congressional candidate Jon Haugen blasted his political rival, U.S. Rep. Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, for allegedly dodging his debate challenges.

The two will both be at tonight’s candidate forum at Camas High School. Haugen said they will have just 10 minutes to speak.

“Her Ladyship, also known as Congresswoman Herrera Beutler, has deigned to grant but a single 10-minute debate before her supplicants during this election,” Haugen wrote in a recent press release. “So mark your calendars! A pre-announced viewing of Congresswoman Herrera Beutler, like a solar eclipse or catching site of a unicorn!”

Haugen also criticized Herrera Beutler for ceasing traditional-style town hall meetings.

“For the first time in 527 days Congresswoman Herrera Beutler will appear at a public forum that is not in a restaurant, or before a business group, or where she is not shilling for campaign donations but an honest to goodness public appearance with real voters in the evening!” he also wrote.

In 2010, Herrera Beutler and her opponent, Democrat Denny Heck, had participated in two live debates and one pre-recorded studio debate by this time in the campaign season. This year, Haugen unsuccessfully requested 10 debates with Herrera Beutler.

Earlier this month, Herrera Beutler and Haugen were invited to participate in a live chat on The Columbian’s website. Herrera Beutler’s spokesman, Casey Bowman, requested that Haugen not be present.

“We are willing to participate, but prefer to do it separately from the other candidate,” Bowman wrote in an email. “If that works for you, I’ll get going on identifying possible times and dates.”

In order to have full participation from both candidates, The Columbian scheduled two separate live chats. You can read them here.

During Herrera Beutler’s live chat, Haugen submitted several questions in attempts to engage Herrera Beutler on the issues. We had an overwhelming amount of reader-submitted questions during the live chat and couldn’t get to them all, so Haugen’s questions were put on the back burner.

During the live chat, readers wanted to know if Herrera Beutler was planning to debate Haugen. She said they would face off at the Camas High School forum. She also said she “made it a priority to offer voters the chance to see my opponent and myself discuss the issues” earlier this month at a Woodland Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Haugen attend a Woodland Chamber meeting the week prior to Herrera Beutler’s appearance, not knowing when Herrera Beutler was planning to be there, he said.

“She would not commit to the next week’s meeting until the Monday before the Tuesday event,” Haugen wrote during Herrera Beutler’s live chat. “I had planned events in Pacific County by that time. … I would debate her in her living room with her dad as the moderator if it were publicly broadcast.”

Will the two candidates have another chance to debate? That was unclear.

“I want to make this week’s forum (at Camas High School) the priority and not detract from it by promising other events,” Herrera Beutler said.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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