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Eckersley, Long disagree on debates

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District 7 Congressional candidates Democrat Scott Eckersley and Republican Billy Long will not be debating in Eckersley's proposed 10-week debate series on the courthouse steps of the district's 10 county courthouses, Eckersley's campaign announced in an Aug. 19 news release. Eckersley requested the debates on Aug. 4 following the primaries held Aug. 3.

According to Eckersley's release, the Long campaign cited concerns about coverage of the debates and stated the pre-primary candidate forums qualified as debates.

Jason Klindt, spokesman for the Billy Long campaign, said they met with the Eckersley campaign Aug. 19 to discuss the debates but were not satisfied with Eckersley's plan to hold the debates on the courthouse steps.

"We're looking for debate venues where people can actually go and see," he said. "We want a serious dialogue about the issues"

Eckersley said in the release the time before the Nov. 2 general election is important in letting the voters get to know the candidates.

"(People) want someone with the courage and conviction to stand up and fight for their interests in Washington," he said. "I’m going to keep talking to the communities of southwest Missouri and prove to them I’m that guy."

Eckersley will move forward with visits to the courthouses and has invited Long to meet him at any point in the tour, according to the release.

Klindt said the Long campaign is interested in debates with the Eckersley campaign but only if a more fitting venue is selected.
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