The debate is on
Fisk, Merrifield to go at it on Oct. 31 radio show
Democrat District 18 State Representative Michael Merrifield has agreed to debate Republican challenger Kyle Fisk on the Joseph Michelli show (KVOR, 740 AM)
from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31.
The debate will finally pit the two contenders in a one-on-one situation. Fisk has been seeking such an encounter since August. He thought he had a debate set up earlier this month, but it never came off after Merrifield issued a statement that any such debate also should include Senate District 11 candidates (because that district includes nearly all of House District 18). This left matters at a stalemate until this week, because Republican incumbent Senator Ed Jones has announced that he will not debate Democrat challenger John Morse.
During the campaign, the two men have revealed sharp and even acrimonious political differences. When talking about his opponent, Merrifield has often called Fisk “Pastor Kyle” (a reference to his position as a church minister), and he has charged that Fisk's party “has hurt small business, education, increased the costs of health care and blurred the line of separation of church and state.”
Fisk most recently has accused Merrifield of “a record ripe with pandering to special interest groups, bad decisions for our business community, and an education record that proves he's more interested in maintaining the status quo than creating a real environment of learning for our kids.”
Regarding candidate forums both candidates have attended, Merrifield's position is that the Michelli show will be the fifth time - not the first time - that he has debated Fisk. However, he noted, public attendance at the forums has been low. “I feel it is time we broadcast the debate to hopefully increase the number of people who hear our issues,” he said.
Fisk, who has charged Merrifield with “ducking” him before now, said he is looking forward to the debate. He said it will also provide listeners a better chance to distinguish the candidates' various opposing views than at the forums, in which there are typically a dozen or so candidates, each only getting to speak for a minute on a given issue.
However, Fisk added a complaint that by the time the debate is held, at least 20 percent of the electorate will have cast early ballots.
Merrifield, who is running for a third term, said he has “asked that Dr. Michelli also invite the Senate District 11 candidates to debate on air as well at a different time. My intent was to allow my constituents to also see their senator and where he stands on issues. Since the Fisk campaign was unable to make that happen, I will, yet again, debate my opponent.”
Westside Pioneer article