Congressman Rod Blum (R-Iowa) challenged his Democratic challenger, State Representative Abby Finkenauer (D-Dubuque), to 12 debates last month. After accepting his 7th debate invitation, he lowered the number to 10 debates since Finkenauer has yet to accept a single invitation.
These potential debates include the following: Two from KGAN/KFXA, the first on August 22, and another in-studio debate at a later date (TBD). Two from KWWL, the first on September 11th at UNI and another in-studio debate at a later date (TBD). Blum has also accepted the three remaining invitations from KXEL Radio, the Anamosa Journal-Eureka, and the Waverly Democrat Newspaper.
When Blum initially challenged Finkenauer, she responded with an affirmative, “Fun! Awesome!”
Not only has Finkenauer not accepted any debate invitation, and the Blum campaign claims she has not negotiated any debates leading up to election day.
“If 12 debates are unacceptable, then let’s move to 10 and hold them once a week beginning on August 22nd in towns all throughout the district. Constituents in the First District of Iowa deserve to hear a long-form discussion of our ideas and personal experience in their towns and cities, not only be exposed to millions of dollars of thirty-second attack ads two weeks before the election,” Blum said.
In 2016, Blum challenged his Democrat opponent Monica Vernon to 10 debates. Vernon announced she was willing to participate in two debates. In the end, they only had one televised debate that was held in late October.
In 2014, when running for the open seat, Blum and former Democrat Speaker of the Iowa House Pat Murphy had two televised debates.
Update: The Blum campaign tells me that the Finkenauer campaign now says they are “thinking” about one debate and whether her schedule would allow it.