Garvin Challenges Jennings to Debate on WFIE

Reporter: Ben Jackey

Web Producer: Amber Griswold

There's another debate over a debate in Indiana's 8th Congressional District.

Fresh off a taping of a WAZE panel debate, the Libertarian candidate is challenging his opponents to sign up for WFIE's Lincoln-Douglas style debate.
Libertarian Mark Garvin favors the debate, but what's been the response from Democrat Jon Jennings and Republican Incumbent John Hostettler?
Democrat John Jennings has refused WFIE's invitation for a debate originally scheduled on October 5th, and is now being rescheduled to accommodate Congressman John Hostettler's DC commitments. Hostettler has signed on along with Garvin, both claiming it's the best format in which to debate.
Our format is in the spirit of Lincoln-Douglas style debates, meaning there will be direct questioning between the candidates.

No questions will come from a panel of journalists or so-called experts. But, you the viewer are allowed to phone in or e-mail a question in between the candidate questioning.

Friday Garvin issued a challenge to the candidates. Garvin told Newswatch via phone that he, "... called them to agree to the WFIE debate and format. If we really want to let the voters have a good look at us as candidates, we must show them how we can interact with each other. I do hope that... Mr. Jennings will agree to a new format, and will let the voters of our district see that interaction."

The Jennings Camp won't say the format is the reason for refusal, however Communications Director Andrew Whalen says it's not preferred.
Whalen commented, "I think it's definitely possible with Lincoln-Douglas style that things can get off on a tangent and I think they have a tendency to go off issue and to delve into things that really aren't important to voters."
Newswatch asked if that is why Mr. Jennings has not signed on for our debate right now.
Whalen replied, "Right now, we're looking at the dates and trying to make all the dates work as best as we can."
Jennings says there are five dates slated for him to debate throughout the district. In checking with all the camps, it's unclear whether all three candidates will even take part in another televised debate.

This isn't the first time there has been a debate over a debate in the 8th district. Last election cycle it was Hostettler that wanted a Lincoln-Douglas style format to replace WNIN's panel question debate. Challenger Bryan Hartke wouldn't budge, the two could only agree to a radio debate.