A frustrated Angela Zimmann is taking on incumbent Bob Latta over his successful avoidance, so far, of appearing on the same stage with her.
Looks like that streak is going to continue tonight (Tues., Sept. 18). Zimmann (D, Springfield Township) has accepted an invitation for the League of Women Voters event at the University of Toledo's Scott Park campus, while Latta (R., Bowling Green) has not.
The two are competing in the 5th Congressional District. It's a heavily Republican district, and Latta is the incumbent, so there's not much advantage for him in scheduling debates with his Democratic opponent.
Latta has a real scheduling conflict - one that Zimmann didn't know about: the Van Wert County Farm Bureau, which is having its annual dinner. The "candidates' reception" starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 6:30 p.m., followed by the dinner.
It's a safe guess that Latta will encounter far more supportive constituents there than in a League of Women Voters event that's not even inside his district. Latta's district lies a couple of miles or so to the west and north.
Zimmann names eight events that the two of them were invited to but which Latta did not accept. Two of the events were canceled.
(According to Dan Lipner, spokesman for the Zimmann campaign: "The campaign first received the Van Wert event invite on August 30th. The first email contact we've been able to track down about this League of Women Voters Forum was July 13th.)
Zimmann zings Latta in this news release:
Perrysburg, OH – In recognition of Constitution Day, Congressman Bob Latta released a statement Monday that celebrates the significance of our Constitution and characterizes the incumbent congressman as “an avid student of history and government.”
However, any true student of American history and government would also celebrate a fundamental tradition in our representative democracy: public debate. Just as our framers embraced the concept of candid, thoughtful debate, Congressman Latta should willingly engage with both his opponents and the public to give voters an opportunity to join policy discussions.
Yet, Congressman Silent Bob Latta has failed to do so, avoiding debates with his opponent, Angela Zimmann, on the issues impacting Northwest Ohio’s newly competitive Fifth U.S. Congressional District.
“Congressman Latta owes the hardworking men and women in the Fifth District chances to hear him – not a congressional staffer or campaign surrogate – explain his record in Congress,”Zimmann said.
To date, Congressman Latta has not attended a public debate or public forum with Zimmann. His absence has been explained away as “scheduling conflicts,” but Latta has not provided any evidence of such conflicts.
Latta also has not accepted Zimmann’s debate challenge, which the congressman received via certified mail nearly 25 days ago.