Allen calls for 4 debates with Anderson

Rick Allen (left) has invited Lee Anderson to debate four times before the Aug. 21 Republican runoff election for the 12th Congressional seat.

Confident that he’ll face state Rep. Lee Anderson in the Aug. 21 Republican runoff for Congress, Augusta businessman Rick Allen has invited Anderson to debate four times before then.

Anderson’s campaign did not agree to the debates, but fired back Monday with an endorsement by Maria Sheffield, who placed fourth in the July 31 general primary.

“After visiting, one-on-one, with Lee Anderson, I believe Lee Anderson will be a proactive leader to advance the conservative agenda in Congress,” Sheffield said.

Allen’s campaign manager Scott Paradise discounted Sheffield’s endorsement as a plea for funds by a losing candidate in debt.

“While we would’ve welcomed the endorsement of Maria Sheffield, we chose not to meet the $50,000 price tag,” Paradise said.

Allen led Evans attorney Wright McLeod by about 500 votes for second place in the Republican primary, but McLeod hasn’t ruled out asking for a recount, allowed when the difference is less than 1 percent of all votes cast.

McLeod said he’d decide once the results were certified, which hasn’t happened yet. His spokeswoman Holly Croft said he may know something Tuesday.

Allen kept the focus on Anderson, saying in a Monday statement that Anderson “was a career politician that voted just last Tuesday for the largest tax hike in Georgia history,” referring to the new transportation sales tax that Augusta-region voters approved last week – one of only three regions statewide to do so.

As far as any debates, Reagan Williams, Anderson’s campaign manager, said the campaign had received no invitations from any organization to sponsor them.

Anderson won 13 of the congressional district’s 19 counties and 34.23 percent of the vote but needed more than 50 percent to avoid a runoff.

Allen followed his second-place finish last week with a $250,000 infusion of his own cash, something supporters probably should not expect Anderson to do, Williams said.

“We can’t compete with (Allen) on personal loans,” he said. “More individual people in the district gave to us.”

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