Politics

Republican Dave Brat’s Campaign Calls Out Democratic Opponent For Distracting Voters With Cancelled Debate Claim

YouTube screenshotFox News (L) and YouTube screenshotAbigail Spanberger for Congress (R)

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

Republican Virginia Rep. Dave Brat’s campaign says his Democratic opponent Abigail Spanberger is distracting voters from a recent debacle by claiming Monday that Brat had made a “sudden withdrawal” from an Oct. 25 debate.

Brat and Spanberger will participate in a separate Oct. 15 debate carried by C-SPAN. Spanberger hammered Brat for allegedly backing out of the Oct. 25 debate after she apologized for a menacing message her teenaged canvassers left on Brat’s doorstep.

“We are disappointed by your campaign’s sudden withdrawal from the metro Richmond debate,” Spanberger campaign manager Dana Bye wrote in a Monday letter to Brat campaign member Phil Rapp, according to the Washington Post.

“We believed arrangements were being made in good faith when campaign manager Katey Price confirmed on August 21, 2018, that the Brat campaign would participate in the Oct­. 25, 2018 debate,” the letter continued. “Subsequently, [Brat campaign manager Katey Price] conducted a walkthrough of the proposed debate venue on Sept. 12 with the host, local TV affiliate WTVR, in attendance. The Brat [campaign] re-confirmed their participation in the debate during the walkthrough.”

Price disputed Spanberger’s characterization.

“We’re still in the middle of negotiating with them,” she told The Daily Caller News Foundation via telephone Tuesday. “We never closed the book on it.”

Spanberger spokesman Justin Jones said that Rapp said Thursday Brat was “not prepared to commit” to the Oct. 25 debate until the Oct. 15 debate was over, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. (RELATED: Dave Brat‘s Democratic Challenger Apologizes After Threatening Message Left On His Doorstep)

Price also pointed out that the Washington Post’s lede that stated the Oct. 25 debate was “what may have been their only widely broadcast TV debate” did not make sense because the Oct. 15 debate will be livestreamed and patched through by C-SPAN.

RealClearPolitics ranks the race as a toss up. Brat has held his seat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District since riding the Tea Party wave to victory in 2014.

Spanberger has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama and is a former CIA operations officer.

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