12th District candidate Lee Anderson turns down debate in Atlanta

Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 3:18 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 1:25 AM
  • Follow Elections

ATLANTA -- A spokesman for Republican challenger Lee Anderson told the nation’s second-largest press club that he is declining an invitation to debate the man he wants to unseat, Democratic Congressman John Barrow.

The Atlanta Press Club’s Oct. 21 debate would be televised throughout the whole district on Georgia Public Broadcasting, unlike local media outlets that only reach voters in various parts of the 12th District. Anderson participated in the club’s debate during the primary.

Anderson spokesman Ryan Mahoney sent club Executive Director Lauri Strauss a one-line email on Friday that offered no reasons.

“Thank you for your e-mail. At this time, we respectfully decline the invitation to the Oct. 21st Press Club Debate. Best, Ryan,” he wrote.

Monday, he noted that Barrow had skipped debates by the Atlanta club in the last two elections.

Barrow spokesman Richard Carbo said Monday that the congressman would accept the invitation if Anderson does but that a trip to Atlanta would otherwise be difficult in the last days of a campaign.

“We’re hoping that Mr. Anderson will change his mind. If he’ll accept it, we’ll accept it,” Carbo said.

He said four or five organizations in the district have also issued invitations to debates.

Because of its reputation and statewide audience, the Press Club often hosts the only debate that some candidates decide to participate in. Its debate committee picks panelists from veteran journalists with a geographic, racial and gender balance to ensure the process is fair to all candidates.

Its debates are unusual in that they allow candidates to ask each other questions, which sometimes adds sparks or pins down a position on a critical issue.

With national interest in Barrow’s position as the only white Democrat in the deep South, the Press Club expected C-SPAN to also air the debate and network affiliates based in Atlanta to cover it. That broader exposure could provide exposure to whoever wins the election as he is attempting to carve out a role in the next Congress.

Anderson’s campaign has responded to past debate invitations - made by Augusta ABC affiliate WJBF and The Statesboro Herald - by saying he would only participate if Barrow appeared on camera to say who he is supporting for speaker of the House.

“Lee Anderson will consider sharing the stage with Barrow once he stands in front of a local television camera and confesses his politically disastrous secret – he’s voting for Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi,” Mahoney said in a statement.

Carbo said the congressman has already said he would not vote for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and that he didn’t vote for her to be speaker in the last election. He can’t say who he would vote for because he doesn’t know who will run for the post, a contest that shapes up after the November elections, Carbo said.

Anderson’s camp wants Barrow to talk on camera about his position on President Obama, putting the Democrat in the position of choosing between alienating conservative voters or alienating the president who could decide the fate of a federal harbor-deepening project along the Savannah River.

Barrow would be willing to debate those issues face to face if Anderson would agree, Carbo said.

Carbo characterized as a dodge the conditions that Anderson’s campaign is demanding.

“Absolutely, I think it’s an effort to find an excuse not to debate,” Carbo said.

Mahoney denies that, noting that Anderson participated in 17 forums in the primary and has served in local and state office long enough for people to know his views. Instead, he said a debate with Barrow would not serve voters.

“It has nothing to do with debating skills. It has to do with giving a platform for someone who can’t tell the truth,” he said.

Staff writer Susan McCord contributed to this article

Comments (47) Add comment
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Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 09/17/12 - 09:38 pm
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It does appear that the

It does appear that the Richmond County voters were led astray regarding putting the cross over vote for Sheriff before the choce of congressional candidates. I hope it does not result in a double loss. I will not actually be voting for Lee, just against Barrow.

storiesihaveread
358
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storiesihaveread 09/17/12 - 09:45 pm
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Austin

I agree with you 99.999 % of the time not in this case. He needs to debate Barrow.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 09/17/12 - 10:53 pm
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Why?

They do not give pop quizzes in Congress. Lee will know how to vote and will do fine. He has not one thing in the world to gain from a debate.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 09/18/12 - 01:25 am
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Retired army (thank God)...

...you say we need someone to be in place to protect our pork? LOL

Well...I wonder...is it worst to be thought of as an ideologue, or a hooker?

...and you say it is MY fault that both the sheriff and congressional races are in the mess they are in? Well then damn...that would seem to make me a pretty important guy, would it not?

I don't buy your simplistic drivel...but if it were true...you folks better figure out a way to either kill me, or pay me off, because I am not going away. Oh...and I did my best to narrow the field early on, but the candidates would not listen. Strength should have ordered his brother in law out of the race, and scared Roundtree out of it...and Wright never should have gotten into the race in the first place, and I told them all that.

Seems I was right.

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 09/18/12 - 01:29 am
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And how, you ask...

If Silas had been told by Strength to stand down, he would have. He could have kept Roundtree out by either intimidation, or, just by saying he was going to run again. He could have filled out the paperwork and then withdrawn it at the last second, with Peebles slipping his in at the last minute. BOOM...problem solved.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 09/18/12 - 02:56 am
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He'll still win

I'd rather have the guy who votes the right way and has principles than the guy who is an eloquent speaker representing me in DC.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 09/18/12 - 03:49 am
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If Anderson wins, they should

If Anderson wins, they should immediately vote him in as Speaker of the House.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 09/18/12 - 04:08 am
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BTW:Barrow votes with party

BTW:Barrow votes with party 68.3% of the time which ranks him #182 out of 190 Democrats, and #422 out of all 430 House Members (5 seats are vacant).

palmetto1008
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palmetto1008 09/18/12 - 06:15 am
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Either you really do support
Unpublished

Either you really do support dirty politics, Mr. Rhodes, or you are just a sore loser. It's hard for me to imagine that someone would support such a strategy to deceive the voters.

nanowerx
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nanowerx 09/18/12 - 07:28 am
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I am sick of Anderson dodging debates

If the man cannot debate, then he is just solidifying everything that I thought about him. He is not fit for office. He plays the "conservative country boy" routine, but I have yet to see him be or vote fiscally conservative on anything. Sorry to say it folks, but Barrow is more conservative than Lee Anderson.

Not only does he lie about his political standings, but he simply cannot orate his opinions without looking unfit for any public speaking position. He knows it too, because this is the 2nd debate he has refused. I had to keep holding my mouth not to laugh every time he spoke at the one GOP primary debate he attended. He would make us look like idiots in Washington, not only with his speaking skills, but his political incite. Somebody who does not know what the Federal Reserve is does not belong in a position to represent me.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 09/18/12 - 07:30 am
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And the bearded congressman from GA
Unpublished

votes, "Ney", "Ney". We could save billions on congressional seats with a vote for goats to represent us.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 09/18/12 - 08:00 am
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Not Quite

Sorry, I have to call you on this one. Austin Rhodes posted:

Lee is as conservative as they (non-fringe candidates) come...Barrow is an Obama/Pelosi liberal.

Lee Anderson is a big-government Republican. Don't forget he voted for and strongly lobbied for the recent T-SPLOST (then had the audacity to speak at Saturday's Tea Party Express rally — those carpetbagging Tea Partiers did not check out his voting record on taxes).

John Barrow is a Blue Dog Democrat. To say he is in the Obama/Pelosi camp is misstating his voting record.

Regular readers of Chronicle comments know that I am the farthest right-wing of all posters here. But in this race I am leaning Barrow because Anderson supports increasing the funding, the size, and the scope of government. That's reason enough to send him back to the farm.

americafirst
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americafirst 09/18/12 - 08:10 am
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inconsistent views

Austin, your suggestion in your 1:29 comment that Strength should have filed to run again and then withdraw at the last minute is hypocritical. Isn't that almost the same strategy that you accused Judge Fleming and Bill Williams of engaging in with regard to that judgeship. You exoriated Judge Fleming and Williams for 3 hours every day for such alleged tactics. And your suggestion that Strength should have ordered or intimidated people not to run is actually kinda scary.

brendadale
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brendadale 09/18/12 - 08:40 am
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Smooth talker or a real worker for the people

My vote is for Lee Anderson. He may not be the greatest speaker, but I know that he has improved tremendously, and continues to work at it. Lee will not be an embarrassment to Georgia. He will be the kind of Christian leader we need. I don't want a smooth talker, I want a person that is honest and will work for the people.

Retired Army
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Retired Army 09/18/12 - 10:20 am
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Re-Post

Seems someones feelers got hurt again and I was censored(TOS)again. Ah well, here's the toned down version.

The hypocrisy abundant on this thread would be hilarious were it not for the seriousness of the issue at stake.

First of all, to call Barrow a Pelosi/Obama Liberal is about as brazen and boneheaded lie that I can recall(You'll have to figure out who said that on your own). I know Liberals and am proud to be one.
Barrow ain't one and that's the truth.

Then there is the constant yammering about the best person for the job, representing the citizens of the 12th. If Anderson doesn't have either the moxie or intelligence or oratorial gifts to stand up man to man with John Barrow the Conservative Democrat, what kind of courage, skill and gumption can we expect from him should he be thrown into the cesspool that is Washington?

But there it is for all to see. Party loyalty above common sense.

Anybody with a lick of sense can see the Romney campaign imploding on a daily basis. When our President gets his second term(and it looks as if he will), who is going to protect all the federal dollars spent here in our hometown?

Lee Anderson? Paul Broun? Give us a break!

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 09/18/12 - 10:22 am
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Americafirst

GOOD memory there, AF. YEP...you won't catch me bringing a knife to a gunfight any more. That is how the bad guys won forever, I figure it can work for the good guys. If we have to stand against these nimrods, might as well grab a handful of dirt and get down with them. As long as it is legal...and that is...you gotta speak their language. I tried to tell them...they did not listen. They lost.

BTW...my Columbia County theory for the Augusta judicial circuit worked out pretty well, didn't it?

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 09/18/12 - 10:25 am
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One more thing AF...

...Webster did it for Strength...the only way that "bloodline" was going to continue victorious in a Dem primary was if Strength returned the favor. He did not.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 09/18/12 - 11:14 am
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Deletions

Austin Rhodes’ 9:36 post was well-ensconced here on page two when I started posting this morning. Now it's over on page one. There must have been a heap of deletions, not merely one from RA.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 09/18/12 - 11:37 am
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Barrier

Well, the last barrier has been broken. The precedent has been set. It is now permissible for white people to run in the Republican primary for sheriff.

If Roundtree wins (and that's a big if), the 2016 Republican primary for sheriff will look a lot different than the 2012 primary did.

Little Lamb
44976
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Little Lamb 09/18/12 - 11:38 am
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Change the Subject

Oh, man, I got sucked in. Austin got me to post about the sheriff race when the story is about Anderson.

americafirst
965
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americafirst 09/18/12 - 12:00 pm
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Austin , the Columbia County

Austin , the Columbia County thing did work out as you thought it would and I have no problem whatsoever with Judge Roper, whom I respect. I do think the situation was a little different with Webster, Strength and Hatfield. And i do not think that Webster "ordered" or "intimidated" Sid in any way. I beleive Webster told them he thought both of them would make good Sheriffs but if both were going to run he would support Strength and the 3 worked it out and the community elected a good sheriff.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 09/18/12 - 12:14 pm
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The prize goes to AR

Austin's remarks came to the closest to what I was thinking, though I would not have framed it the same way. The subject of the speech was ...family. A functional one is the glue that holds society together. Strength should not be expected to control Silas, but his own family should have respected and trusted HIS leadership. That did not happen.

MarinerMan
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MarinerMan 09/18/12 - 12:39 pm
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Come on...!
Unpublished

The only times that Barrow voted against the Democrats, was when he KNEW they had enough votes to pass the bill. And I'd bet dollars to doughnuts, he even told Queen Nancy he was going to do it. On all of the important votes, he has voted straight across Party lines. Wonder when we'll see Barrow on a tractor ??

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 09/18/12 - 12:52 pm
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1
Barrow is already doing a

Barrow is already doing a pretty impressive plaid shirt/jeans, painted white fence and beautiful horse pasture commercial.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 09/18/12 - 01:40 pm
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Barrow Ad

I like the one with the 1,000 identical white cars passing in single file on a rural highway.

MarinerMan
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MarinerMan 09/18/12 - 02:37 pm
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1000 White Cars
Unpublished

And not a single farm truck... While I agree that Lee is not as polished as John, the polished lawyers have gotten us into this mess. We did okay with a dentist, now maybe it is time for a farmer to give it a try. We've got to do better than what we have now. If not, our economy is going to crash. With 47% of the population not paying taxes, something has got to change.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 09/18/12 - 03:09 pm
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Does he still have that weird

Does he still have that weird mustache?

laro247
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laro247 09/18/12 - 11:16 pm
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just can't vote for him

Debate, the man can't put a sentence together much less debate. Thank you to all the Republicans that crossed over in Richmond county to vote for Peebles, it is you and your kind that have saddled us with this for a house rep. I for one won't be voting in that one. Can't vote for Barrow but I'm not voting for this imbecile either.

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