On August 24, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s campaign issued a press release challenging his opponent Democratic candidate Scott Wallace to a debate on WBCB 1490 AM scheduled for August 31.
Fitzpatrick says Wallace’s campaign has not directly responded to requests for a debate or to cap campaign spending and donate the overflow to charity. When WBCB reached out, Wallace’s Communications Director Zoë Wilson-Meyer released a statement on the lack of a debate.
“Scott is looking forward to talking about the issues with Rep. Fitzpatrick. Unfortunately, this challenge was a political stunt – much like Rep. Fitzpatrick’s last minute and inaccessible tele-town halls,” Wilson-Meyer told WBCB.
Fitzpatrick’s request does have precedent, as debates between congressional candidates on WBCB have become almost tradition within the district. The 2016 election saw a debate between candidates Fitzpatrick and Steve Santarsiero. Former Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick also engaged in debates with candidate Patrick Murphy in 2006.
“BCB is our local home town radio station,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was the kick off for the debates last time and we figured now is the time to do it.”
Despite the first missed date, Fitzpatrick’s twitter has continued to put pressure on Wallace to debate on the airwaves.
The #ReleaseYourTaxes hashtag references Wallace failing to release his tax returns, which has also been a major talking point for the Fitzpatrick campaign. In July, Scott Wallace called on President Trump to release his own taxes.
“Requiring Trump to release his tax returns could be a good start,” Wallace tweeted in response to a Washington Post opinion piece.
“I think everybody should release their tax returns, that’s my position,” Fitzpatrick told WBCB. “I think leadership starts at home. How about we set the example and do it here.”
“He wants to make tax reform a centerpiece to his campaign,” Fitzpatrick continued. “That needs to start with both he and I releasing our tax returns because then we’ll be able to see the new tax code versus the old tax code and who is truly benefiting from it.”
The Wallace campaign declined to comment further on the heated situation. Wilson-Meyer’s statement focused on staying on path for already scheduled debates.
“Scott has agreed to three debates and multiple forums and he’s looking forward to debating Rep. Fitzpatrick on the issues that matter to the voters of PA-01,” Wilson-Meyer said. “And to seeing Brian Fitzpatrick try to defend his record of voting with Washington special interests over his constituents.”
Other debates are scheduled for later in the year. On Oct. 19, the League of Women Voters will host a forum for the candidates and another debate is scheduled for Oct. 25 at Bucks County Community College.