Republican Terry Branstad, seeking his sixth term as governor, has accepted invitations to participate in three debates with his Democratic opponent before the November election — without checking with his opponent first.
Branstad’s campaign sent out a news release, saying the governor had accepted invitations for debates in Des Moines in August, in Burlington in September and in Sioux City in October. About an hour and a half later, the campaign manager for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch responded, saying it was “peculiar” that Branstad didn’t check with Hatch first and has decided to “negotiate through the media” instead.
Hatch has now agreed to appear at the same three forums in Des Moines, Burlington and Sioux City, but Hatch is also prodding Branstad to agree to six more, to “fill in the gaps” in places like Cedar Rapids, the state’s second largest media market which was left off Branstad’s list. Hatch also suggests a debate between Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Hatch’s not-yet-announced running mate.
Tommy Schultz, a spokesman for the Branstad-Reynolds campaign, replied to Hatch.
“Our campaign is excited to participate in these three debates–the same number of debates as in 2010–and we will not respond to tacky, desperate campaign gimmicks from our opponent’s struggling campaign,” Schultz said in a written statement.
In addition, Reynolds will not debate the person Hatch chooses as his running mate.
“This is a campaign between Terry Branstad and Jack Hatch and that is whom voters expect to see in a debate,” Schultz said.
(This post was updated at 1:08 p.m. and again at 1:43 p.m. with additional information.)