Attorney General Terry Goddard said one Clean Elections debate isn’t enough, and challenged Gov. Jan Brewer to meet him face to face six more times during the campaign.
In a letter to Brewer, Goddard, the Democratic nominee for governor, urged the governor to meet him for a series of six debates that would begin immediately after the Aug. 24 primary.
The topics would be balancing Arizona’s budget; public safety; immigration and border security; jobs; education; and tourism, energy, the environment and reviving rural Arizona.
“We are both Clean Elections candidates and are required to participate in at least one debate. In these critical times, we owe the people of Arizona far more than the bare minimum. We have the obligation to let Arizonans hear from us side by side, debating the issues that matter most to our state’s future,” Goddard wrote in his Aug. 17 letter to Brewer.
Goddard asked Brewer to respond by Aug. 27. But he didn’t have to wait that long.
Brewer issued a statement the same day, saying she would consider future debates after the Sept. 1 Clean Elections debate, but did not agree to anything. Instead, Brewer criticized Goddard for what she said was a lack of ideas or plans.
“The voters of Arizona know who Terry Goddard is and his 30-year record of failures: Wrong on Prop. 200, wrong on SB1070, wrong on Obamacare, wrong on English Language Learners, just to name a few,” Brewer said in a press statement. “Now Mr. Goddard wants to weigh in on the issues. Where has he been? For over a year, the governor has challenged Goddard to provide a definitive plan to help resolve Arizona’s fiscal crisis. She challenged him to join her in supporting Prop 100. His response? ‘It’s not my job.’”
Goddard isn’t the first Arizona candidate to throw down such a gauntlett this year. J.D. Hayworth challenged U.S. Sen. John McCain to a whopping 15 debates, though he only got two.
Janey Pearl, a spokeswoman for Goddard’s campaign, acknowledged that six debates is a lot, but with less than three months to go before the general election, she said it’s important to give voters as much information as possible about where the candidates stand on the issues.
“It’s easy to get on TV when you’re the only one talking,” Pearl said of Brewer, who has been a frequent guest on FOX News. “It would be one debate every 11 days. I think that’s reasonable.”
Goddard is unopposed in the Aug. 24 primary election, while Brewer faces Matthew Jette, an Apache Junction resident for the Republican nomination. Her toughest challengers, State Treasurer Dean Martin and northern Arizona businessman Buz Mills, recently dropped out of the gubernatorial race after Brewer’s poll numbers placed her well ahead of any challengers.