Before even making it to a debate stage, the candidates vying for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district are trading jabs — over debates.
Incumbent Congresswoman Ann Wagner and her opponent, outgoing state Sen. Jill Schupp, butted heads over scheduling a broadcasted debate. The two contenders have agreed to debate — but haven’t come to an agreement over the date or host.
“Congresswoman Wagner is interested in the broadest segment of 2nd district voters learning firsthand about the disturbingly out-of-touch voting record Jill Schupp has compiled throughout her 20-year career in elected politics, which is why she accepted a joint debate invitation from two local television stations and the region’s largest radio station,” Kris Cook, Wagner’s campaign manager, said.
Cook alleged Schupp’s camp had not made contact with them or the expected hosts to clarify the terms of the debate since agreeing to a debate.
But Schupp’s campaign manager Ali O’Neil outlined their side of debate negotiations in an email provided to The Missouri Times. O’Neil said the team had reached out to Wagner’s camp to come to a compromise but had not received a response.
“While certainly disappointing — for us and I’m sure for you — it is unfortunately not surprising,” O’Neil said. “In her nearly eight years in office, Congresswoman Wagner hasn’t held a single in-person public town hall or participated in one televised debate, and the voters and people of the 2nd district are the ones who pay the price. Her lack of accountability now, with fewer than 40 days until the election, clearly demonstrates where her priorities lie.”
Wagner agreed to a debate with Schupp earlier this month, but her camp contended it would air through Fox 2, KPLR11, the Clayton Chamber, and KMOX on Oct. 11. Schupp’s camp had already requested her participation in a debate for late October to air on the Nine Network, St. Louis Public Radio, and KSDK.
As of Tuesday, the dueling campaigns have not yet locked down a time or place to spar on stage.