Wallingford challenges Brandom to debates

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Ellen Brandom

Missouri Senate hopeful Wayne Wallingford challenged Ellen Brandom on Tuesday to a series of six "spirited and healthy" debates between now and the Aug. 7 Republican primary in what he says is an attempt to eliminate negative ads that have soured voters in the 27th District.

If his Sikeston, Mo., opponent hadn't accepted his offer by midnight Tuesday, Wallingford said, television ads of his own were scheduled to begin running today that refute Brandom's claims about him as well as again call into question Brandom's stance on stem-cell and cloning research.

"She really forced my hand," Wallingford said late Tuesday night. "Her ads are very negative. I've voted for Republicans since 1961 and now I'm being equated to Barack Obama. Quite frankly, that's offensive. I feel I have to do something."

Brandom did not return phone calls Tuesday night to her cellphone. Brandom's campaign manager, Dan Hutton, said after 10 p.m. that he had not heard of Wallingford's offer but said he would try to contact Brandom for answers. Hutton said a short time later he was unable to reach Brandom.

Wallingford, a Cape Girardeau Republican wrapping up his first term in the Missouri House, said he called Brandom shortly before noon Tuesday and suggested to Brandom that they should debate in each county of the 27th District, which is made up of the counties of Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Perry, Scott and Wayne. As of almost 11 p.m., Wallingford said he had received no response.

Wayne Wallingford

Wallingford compared his idea to the Lincoln-Douglas debates, referencing the famous 1858 debates between Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Sen. Stephen Douglas as the two men tried to win control of the Illinois legislature. Wallingford said that Brandom, who has served six years in the House, would have to agree to pull her ads and he would pull his as soon as possible if she agreed to debate. Both are asking voters to send them to the Missouri Senate seat occupied by Jason Crowell, who is being forced out by term limits.

Brandom's campaign began running campaign spots this week that attempt to tie Wallingford to unions because he accepted $1,100 in campaign contributions from organized labor. The ads also state that Wallingford has received endorsement from a union that also threw its weight behind the president, who is not popular in conservative Southeast Missouri.

"I have offered her the opportunity to withdraw her ads," Wallingford said. "But I am prepared to take it to a level that I would prefer not to. But if I do, there won't be any distortion like she's done. But I can't ignore the things she's said about me."

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

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