Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra said Tuesday he’s still waiting for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow to agree to broadly televised debates in Michigan’s U.S. Senate race, preferably on issues of foreign policy and the economy.
“She has been delinquent in both of those areas,” Hoekstra said at a Lansing press conference. “I would love to have this debate with her. It’s clearly why she’s ducking debates and doesn’t want to be held accountable.”
Down in most polls, Hoekstra was asked about the on-going wrangling over scheduling a debate with the Democratic incumbent during a press conference he called to discuss his weekend trip to Israel to assess escalating Middle East violence. The Nov. 6 general election is 35 days away.
Stabenow, D-Lansing, has accepted an invitation to debate before the members of the Detroit Economic Club.
“I’m sorry, Michigan has more voters than those who attend the Detroit Economic Club,” said Hoekstra, R-Holland.
Stabenow also has agreed to one debate on public television in Grand Rapids, while Hoekstra wants six debates televised on network stations across the state – and more exposure for his struggling campaign.
Stabenow has said her preference for two debates follows U.S. Senate race tradition in Michigan dating back to 1996.
“That’s it for another six years after she’s been in the U.S. Senate for 12 years,” Hoekstra complained. “It’s clear that the format that she most prefers is to have a debate format where … it’s highly likely that the people of Michigan will not have the opportunity to see her defend her record.”
Hoekstra later added: “If presidential candidates can debate three times on national TV, wouldn’t it be nice if this senator would agree to at least that many? And of course, she’s asking for six years instead of four.”