District 12 runoff foes spar over debates

Although they faced each other in debates leading up to the July 31 general primary, don’t expect Lee Anderson and Rick Allen to go head to head on the issues before the Aug. 21 Republican runoff for Congress.

Allen challenged Ander­son to four debates between the primary and the runoff that will decide who faces Democratic incumbent John Barrow on Nov. 6.

Anderson’s campaign manager, Reagan Williams, said that he has received no requests from organizations holding debates except for an event Thursday held by the Atlanta Press Club that will be televised and streamed online.

“Other than that one Atlanta debate, we haven’t received any requests for a debate in the district,” Williams said.

Allen, who finished second to Anderson in the July 31 primary, has agreed to participate in that debate, which will take place with or without Anderson, said Atlanta Press Club Executive Director Lauri Strauss.

On Friday, Allen slammed Anderson on Fri­day for refusing to debate while traveling to Atlanta for a fundraiser Thursday.

“Stop coming up with excuses and agree to debates like every other political candidate in the state of Georgia,” Allen said. “You name the times and places; I’ll show up.”

Dave Barbee, a longtime Republican activist who backed third-place finisher Wright McLeod in the primary but now is “not working in either camp,” offered his view on why the Grovetown farmer and state representative might dodge a debate with Allen, who owns an Augusta construction company.

“Debating is not Lee’s strong suit,” Barbee said.

Barbee is staffing a new Richmond County Republican Party headquarters in National Hills shopping center, which will be open through November. At present, it presents both Allen and Anderson as options for voters in the runoff, he said.

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