The discussion about debates in the 9th District for the U.S. House continues.
The campaigns announced that Democratic candidate Shelli Yoder, D-9th District, and Republican incumbent Rep. Todd Young, R-9th District, will debate Oct. 23 at Franklin College in Johnson County, but are still deciding on a date for a second debate later in Harrison County.
“We chose two locations that provide geographic balance between the northern and southern ends of the district as well as balance between the old and new district lines resulting from last years’ redistricting,” said Trevor Foughty, communications director for Young’s campaign.
Left out of the current schedule are Monroe, Jackson, Clark and Floyd counties.
Yoder’s campaign released a statement two weeks ago decrying opponent and Republican incumbent Young yet again for not scheduling debates in certain parts of the district.
Katie Carlson, Yoder’s campaign manager, said many municipalities with larger populations compared to the rest of the district have been left out of the schedule.
“So it seems like they’re avoiding the more populous counties in the district,” Carlson said. “To me, that makes me wonder why they want fewer and not more people to hear both sides of these issues.”
Carlson said Yoder’s campaign is still seeking more debates, but they are not targeting previously ignored counties. She said they have to bargain with Young’s campaign to add any debates.
She added she thinks Young is avoiding debates because he’ll have a difficult time defending his votes during his two years in Congress.
She said students, senior citizens and working families have all been affected by his actions.
Carlson also discussed more technical aspects that could trouble voters: Congress’ work record.
“Even more recently, Congress adjourned to have their members go home so they can campaign for reelection, and they did that before finishing so many important acts, including work on the budget, taxes and job creation,” Carlson said. “So he skipped out of work, hasn’t been representing this district well, and that’s going to make it difficult to defend his record.”
The Young campaign sees the location debate as a distraction.
“This debate-about-debates doesn’t tell anyone how we might get our economy moving again or how we might put Hoosiers back to work,” Foughty said. “Our campaign is committed to talking about our specific plans to do both those things.”
Carlson said he is excited for the opportunity to have the debate.
“We’re grateful for this host that has accepted sponsoring the debates that are set,” Carlson said. “But we want to continue to push for more.”
The debate will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 and open to the public with limited seating.