The congressional campaign for Republican state Rep. Mike Miller announced Monday it has signed off on three debates being proposed in Central Florida and said it is awaiting word from Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy on which, if any, work for her.
Miller’s campaign on Monday said it was accepting invitations from two Orlando television stations, WFTV Channel 9 and WESH Channel 2, plus from the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida. The WFTV debate has a proposed date, Oct. 9, while the other two await word from Murphy’s campaign on which dates, if any, might be acceptable, Miller’s campaign spokewwoman said.
“Our community and the voters in Central Florida deserve to hear from the candidates seeking to represent them in Congress, and that’s why I’m pleased to accept recent invitations from WFTV, WESH and the Tiger Bay Club to debate Rep. Stephanie Murphy,” Miller stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “I’m willing to debate my opponent as many times as we are invited, so I am hopeful that other highly respected media outlets like WKMG, Univision, WOFL, Spectrum13 and the Orlando Sentinel will sponsor or co-sponsor debates.”
Murphy of course has the position of incumbent in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, and as the apparent front-runner, leaving Miller hoping for as many public face-offs as possible. The district covers Seminole County and north-central Orange County.
On Monday Murphy’s campaign sounded less than pleased that Miller’s campaign accepted first and made it public, implying that his campaign was not negotiating debate options in good faith.
“We are eager to highlight the differences between our campaigns, which is why we made an initial outreach to the Miller campaign to begin debate negotiations. These debates should occur across a variety of mediums, including broadcast, print and radio, which is why we proposed a schedule with an unprecedented number of general election debates. Proposing an initial framework for debates is not the same thing as limiting debates and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise,” Murphy’s campaign spokeswoman Christie Stephenson said in a wrtten response Monday.
“It’s disappointing that Mike Miller is more focused on scoring political points than negotiating in good faith. We need less of that in Congress, not more,” Stephenson added.
Miller’s campaign spokeswoman Dana Loncar said both campaigns had signaled acceptance of the Oct. 9 debate at WFTV. Loncar said the issue then became whether to accept a second televised debate.
“The Mike Miller campaign is not going to turn down WESH and in fact would encourage the hard-working professionals in our local media to ask questions, schedule debates and forums so that the people of Central Florida can listen to and evaluate the candidates for Congress,” Loncar stated in the news release.