Colorado: Seeking to Shift Topic, Schaffer Wants Debates

Posted May 12, 2008 at 6:39pm

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R), whose Senate campaign has been racked recently by several news reports of his association with disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has challenged his presumptive general election opponent, Rep. Mark Udall (D), to seven summer debates.

Schaffer is proposing one debate in each of the state’s seven Congressional districts between Memorial Day and Labor Day. He wants the debates to be structured similar to the free-wheeling verbal battles made famous during the 1858 Illinois Senate campaign between Abraham Lincoln (R) and incumbent Sen. Stephen Douglas (D).

“Let’s give voters in every part of the state a chance to hear directly from us on the issues important to them and our state,” Schaffer said in a statement released by his campaign.

Udall in a statement rejected the format proposed by Schaffer. However, he did endorse a series of debates for the summer and fall that reach “every corner of the state.”

“I’m pleased to see Bob taking an interest in discussing the issues with Coloradans; he could start by answering simple policy questions from reporters and putting information about his positions on his website,” Udall said.

Schaffer, who formerly held the 4th district, and Udall, who currently holds the 2nd district, are running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Wayne Allard (R), who is retiring.

EMILY Puts a Markey on Its Endorsement List

EMILY’s List is backing former Senate aide Betsy Markey (D) in her bid to oust Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) in the Republican-leaning 4th district.

“Betsy Markey has the integrity, common sense and compassion needed in Washington,” Ellen Malcolm, president of EMILY’s List, said in a statement.

EMILY’s list is a political advocacy group that backs pro-abortion-rights, female Democratic candidates. Markey, a small-business woman, previously served as an aide to Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.).

— David M. Drucker