Renee Hoyos, the 2nd Congressional District Democratic nominee, has challenged incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett to three televised debates this fall, but they won’t be happening.
When asked if he would agree to the debates, Burchett’s campaign manager Andrew Davis shot it down.
“Why would Congressman Burchett debate anyone who supports defunding the police? That is a non-starter,” he said in an emailed statement.
Hoyos’ campaign website mentions nothing about defunding police departments, typically a policy initiative that is coupled with a push to reallocate those funds into social programs. Her site has a page dedicated to a plan for the Black community and includes her goal to reforming the criminal justice system by ending the war on drugs and banning private prisons.
“Renee doesn’t support defunding the police, but incumbent Congressman Burchett already knows that,” Hoyos’ campaign manager Don Black said in an emailed statement to Knox News. “Even President Trump and Joe Biden are willing to debate. It’s not about politics, it’s about respecting voters enough to discuss the major issues with them directly, like getting our economy safely back to work.”
Hoyos’ campaign announced Thursday that she had sent a letter to Burchett requesting the debates. She planned for debates on three topics:
- Sept. 22, health care.
- Oct. 7, economics.
- Oct. 13, rural issues.
“With massive unemployment, a deadly pandemic, and our broken health care system – the people of East Tennessee deserve to hear directly from their candidates for office,” Hoyos said in a news release. “It’s not about politics – it’s about respecting voters enough to let them hear from you directly, especially during COVID-19.”
The two did not hold a debate two years ago — the closest they got was a question-and-answer session for a group of accountants — and though Hoyos made no formal request she did say Burchett was afraid to face her in a formal debate.
Burchett, of course, ended up winning handily, nearly doubling Hoyos’ vote total, garnering nearly 66%.
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Burchett ran unopposed in a primary this summer. Hoyos all but ran unopposed, too — her opponent, Chance Brown, had stopped campaigning and supported Hoyos’ campaign instead.
To this point, this time, Hoyos has been out-fundraising the congressman, although Burchett had more cash on hand at the end of the last reporting period, $431,307 to $202,533.
Election Day is Nov. 3.
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