Canton Repository

September 23, 2004

Regula says no to debates, yes to forums

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ralph Regula is turning down his opponent’s challenge to debate four times. But Regula said he and Democratic candidate Jeff Seemann will meet in several forums sponsored by independent groups.

Seemann challenged Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, to debate in each of the four counties in the congressional district.

In a letter to the 16-term incumbent, Seemann said residents of the 16th District “deserve the opportunity to compare, side by side, the differences in our visions for the future.”

Regula said Wednesday that four groups, including League of Women Voters organizations in Wooster and Alliance, have invited Regula and Seemann to candidate forums to present their views.

“I’m going to these joint appearances, so that does the job,” Regula said. “And there’ll probably be a couple more, based on my experience. There are usually a couple other groups that come through with joint appearances.”

Even before Regula responded to the challenge, Seemann, a Canton peace activist, guessed the congressman would say no to the debates.

“A man who has 32 years of experience up against what is perceived as a political newcomer — he would be foolish to debate me,” Seemann said. “If I were his campaign manager, I would try to avoid giving me any of the spotlight at any cost.”