COLUMBIA --- U.S. Rep. John Spratt will debate Republican challenger Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday, but the only people who will get to see any of it have already bought tickets to the sold-out dinner at a Lions Club.
Reporters will be allowed, but Spratt's campaign asked for no audio or video recording of the debate between the candidates. Mulvaney's campaign protested the request when agreeing to the debate, then sent out a news release Monday slamming Spratt. It said "in this country, we have open debates."
It's the latest indication that Republicans see a good chance to knock off Spratt, the longest-serving congressman in the South Carolina delegation and chairman of the House's budget-writing committee.
Spratt has fought off challengers before, but tea party anger combined with his link to the economic policies of Democratic leaders could make this Spratt's toughest fight yet.
Spratt's campaign said it doesn't want the debate recorded because his opponents could take clips out of context.
Reporters with ink and paper will be allowed in the debate, and Spratt and Mulvaney will meet with television reporters and others after the event. Also, Brown said Spratt plans to be at a televised debate in October, although when and where that meeting will happen hasn't been determined.