By DANIEL SUDDEATH
The 9th District U.S. House candidates have agreed to at least two debates, as Republican Todd Young and Democrat Shelli Yoder will meet in Harrison County and Johnson County.
The exact times and dates haven’t been confirmed, but the Johnson County debate will be held at Franklin College. A location for the Harrison County debate hasn’t been announced.
Yoder challenged Young to 13 debates — one in each county of Indiana’s 9th District — and her campaign criticized the incumbent Wednesday for not agreeing to more public forums.
“The manner in which the Young campaign has negotiated debates can only be described as preposterous,” said Yoder Campaign Manager Katie Carlson in a statement.
The Young campaign has been “caught up in minute details” including stage arrangements and provisions such as drinking water and notebook paper for the debates, Carlson continued.
“Yet Mr. Young can’t seem to agree to a debate scenario that would allow the maximum number of voters to watch and participate in the debates,” she said.
Carlson added a debate in either Floyd or Clark County as well as one in Jackson and Monroe counties “is the very least our two campaigns can do for the voters.”
“In a sprawling district like the 9th, it’s unconscionable to expect voters to drive 90 minutes each way to attend a debate,” she said.
Young Campaign Manager Trevor Foughty said the sides agreed to negotiate the details of the debates privately and in good faith.
“We wanted to make sure that both sides were committed to reaching an agreement that benefited voters, and so we wanted to negotiate away from the political theatrics,” he said in a statement. “We’re proud that we stuck to that promise, even when they didn’t.”
After being challenged by Young in 2010, then incumbent Baron Hill agreed to two debates prior to the General Election, as one was held in Jasper and the other in Bloomington.
Foughty said this year’s debate locations “provide geographic balance between the northern and southern ends of the district.”
“We have been negotiating with our opponent on debate logistics for the past month to ensure the 9th District voters understand the clear choice they face in November,” he said.
After the original 13 debate request wasn’t agreed upon, Carlson said the Yoder campaign insisted on seven debates. She said that was the number of debates Young originally requested Hill to participate in during 2010.
“He may be less eager to debate than he was in 2010,” Carlson said, as she attacked Young’s voting record. “Regardless, every 9th District voter deserves to know how they will be represented on the issues that affect their lives on a day-to-day basis.”