Bret Hayworth of The Sioux City Journal reported on Campbell’s confrontation of King:
Political theater intruded into a town hall meeting this morning, as Iowa 5th District Congressman Steve King’s Democratic Party opponent Matt Campbell showed up and challenged King to set a debate with him.
Saying he was unhappy that King wouldn’t give an answer to his repeated requests for a debate, Campbell walked in midway through the hourlong meeting and stood about 10 feet from King’s podium. King finished answering the prior question about conducting an audit of the Federal Reserve System, then addressed Campbell, without naming him at any point in the exchange.
"We aren’t going to have any ambushes or interruptions," King said.
Campbell gave King a letter he said was a request for a debate, while King said each participant would only get one question. King said the fact that Campbell resorted to the political stunt showed he wasn’t a bona fide candidate who was worthy of being part of a future debate. He also said Campbell’s press releases contain too many personal attacks. Many people in the crowd applauded King’s comment.
Warren Baker, sitting in the second row of a meeting with 80 people at Western Iowa Tech Community College, said Campbell was right about the necessity of the two congressional candidates having a debate.
King tersely sought to move on.
"I answered his (Campbell’s) question and I answered yours (Baker’s)," the congressman said.
King said the meeting was paid for with taxpayer money, that the format was one question per person and that the meeting was not the place to infuse politics.
Congressman King issued a statement this afternoon saying that he will not debate Campbell:
I have long said I will debate if my opponent develops an issues based campaign. Clearly he has not and his most recent ‘fraternity prank’ at Western Iowa Tech Community College is conclusive. Any discussion in favor of a debate is therefore concluded. There will be no debate. I will continue to take my message to Iowans and make myself available to them for an honest and open exchange of opinions.
Personally I think he should debate Campbell simply because he would destroy him, because what will Campbell say on the issues that would actually sway 5th District voters? Nothing. How will he win on his positions on healthcare and the economy? He can’t. But looking at Campbell’s news page it seems the only thing that Campbell promotes is an incessant whining about debating and attacks on King, not the issues. Why would King want to participate with that? The town hall stunt was sophomoric and is an indication that Campbell isn’t suited for office anyway.