Earlier today I got this email in my inbox from Amar Kaleka, one of the two Democrats vying to unseat Republican Rep. Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s first Congressional district.
If Kaleka’s email is to be believed, fellow Democrat Rob Zerban refused to debate him, thus depriving Democratic voters the opportunity to hear the candidates discuss issues pertaining to their race and the first Congressional district.
However, it appears there’s much, much more to the story than what Amar Kaleka’s campaign would have voters believe. According to multiple sources of mine, the Zerban campaign had never entered into debate negotiations with Kaleka (as is the normal procedure). Instead, Kaleka waited until the just weeks before a proposed debate date before sending a list of strict debate guidelines to Zerban’s campaign. Despite the fact that the Zerban campaign never agreed to a debate, the Kaleka campaign went ahead and announced a date for the debate, and when Kaleka’s campaign didn’t receive a response to their debate demands from Zerban’s campaign, Kaleka sent out the email above, which certainly makes it seem as if Rob Zerban reneged on an agreement to debate.
Despite the Kaleka campaign’s desperate assertions that a debate had been agreed to, it appears there was never and agreement between the Zerban and Kaleka campaigns to debate, and Kaleka’s assertion that there was stinks to high heaven.
Given the fact that Amar Kaleka is likely to be trounced by Rob Zerban on August 12, it’s no shock he chose to go negative, but it’s disappointing to see how quickly a man with no previous political experience has learned to delve into nasty attacks in a desperate attempt to sway voters.