A few days after saying they couldn't fit a debate into Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' schedule, the Republican incumbent's campaign has shifted course and asked if she could debate Daryl Romeyn after all.
The campaign called KSPS-TV producer Jill Johnson this morning, asking if the offer to debate on Channel 7 and KXLY-TV next week was still open. Johnson said she would check with the two stations, and Romeyn, to see if it could be arranged.
Nothing definite yet, Johnson said, because she now needs to contact Romeyn, who'd been told the debate was off. "We're interested in making it happen," she said.
Earlier in the week, the campaign had declined that matchup, the one proposed televised debate for the 5th Congressional District, because of "scheduling constraints."
A post Wednesday in Spin Control and a story in the Spokesman-Review on Thursday noted that McMorris Rodgers had turned down that debate and no others were scheduled, which suggested Eastern Washington's 5th Congressional District might be without a face-to-face debate for the first time in decades. That story apparently struck a chord with readers, and is currently the most-commented story on the newspaper's Web site.
UPDATE: McMorris Rodgers' campaign issued a press release this afternoon saying she has agreed to the debate, although Johnson said she had yet to contact Romeyn to confirm that he could schedule it. The text of the McMorris Rodgers press release can be found inside the blog.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement regarding the opportunity to debate Daryl Romeyn: "As a Congresswoman who's always been accessible to the public, listened to people's concerns, and been responsive to their needs, I've concluded that having a debate with my opponent would be of value to the people of Eastern Washington. I've made the appropriate changes to my schedule and have agreed to debate my opponent on October 19. I'm proud of my record standing up for Eastern Washington's families, veterans, and small business owners, and I look forward to having a good-faith discussion with my opponent about the issues important to our future - especially growing our economy, balancing the budget, and preserving the American Dream for our children and grandchildren. The details of ! the debate are still being finalized and will be forthcoming."