Tensions rise between Yoder, Young campaigns

Shelli Yoder, the Democratic candidate, issued a press release Tuesday saying her opponent, incumbent and Republican Todd Young, was not serious about a debate.

“Exactly one month ago — on July 28 — Yoder challenged Republican candidate Todd Young to join her for 13 town-hall debates, one in each county in the 9th District,” the press release said. “After calling the challenge ‘political theater,’ Young’s campaign has yet to commit to a single debate.”

The candidates have yet to face one another in a public forum, but Young’s campaign had a different explanation.

Trevor Foughty, Young’s press secretary, did not want to comment extensively. He said Young’s and Yoder’s campaigns agreed not to.

“We’ve met with our opponent’s campaign, and we’re working out a plan with them to have debates that are beneficial to voters,” Foughty said.

Yoder said Young’s campaign is not truly working on a plan.

“What his campaign calls ‘hammering out details,’ I call ‘stalling’ and ‘wasting time,’” Yoder said in the release. “It’s been a month, and he’s been on recess much of it. I want to discuss the issues that are important to the people of the 9th District in front of as many people as possible.”

Young challenged former 9th District Rep. Baron Hill to seven debates during the 2010 election, a point highlighted in Yoder’s release.

The campaign now claims Young is no longer concerned about debate opportunities.
Foughty said, however, the release to the press violated an agreement and doesn’t reflect Young’s plans.

“We mutually agreed not to negotiate through the media in order to keep a level of trust between our campaigns,” Foughty said. “It’s disappointing that they seem to be reneging on that agreement, but we intend to stand by it. We have no comment beyond that.”

Katie Carlson, Yoder’s campaign manager, confirmed the two campaigns agreed to set up their debates working together.

She said this agreement was made more than a month ago, however, and Young has not yet responded to Yoder’s proposed dates or offered any.

“They’re stalling, and we feel like he’s hiding from his voting record,” Carlson said.

— Mary Kenney

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