The Jefferson County Republican Party has announced it is hosting the first debate in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District Race on Monday, March 31 at Samford University’s Wright Center. Sponsors for the event include Birmingham NBC affiliate WVTM, Superstation 101 WYDE, XTreme Concepts, Samford University and the Samford University College Republicans. The debate is free to the public and will also air live on WVTN and Superstation 101.
All but one of the candidates, Rep. Paul DeMarco, is scheduled to participate in the debate. DeMarco said he cannot attend because he has a fundraiser that night, prompting some of the other candidates to criticize him for prioritizing raising money over discussing the issues.
“When an opportunity for all candidates to participate in a public discussion of ideas is passed up in order to raise cold hard cash, it feels like old-time beltway politics,” said GOP candidate Dr. Chad Mathis. “That’s a shame.”
“For far too long Washington politicians have put raising money in front of the needs of their constituents,” added a spokesperson for Republican Will Brooke. “The next 6th district Congressman needs to continue Congressman Bachus’s legacy of fantastic constituent service. Step one is answering questions at NBC 13′s debate on March 31.”
Rick Journey, a spokesperson for the DeMarco campaign, brushed off the criticism.
“We’ve been talking with our constituents for a long time now about the issues and about our vision for what needs to be done in Congress and representing District 6,” Journey told AL.com. He also noted that DeMarco offered other dates to the debate planners and said that the candidate plans to attend several other public forums in the coming days.
Following the JeffCo GOP debate there will be a reception for the candidates in the lobby of Samford University’s Brock Recital Hall. Tickets to the reception are $10 and can be purchased on the county party’s website. (source)