Republican Rep. Mike Sodrel and Democratic challenger Baron Hill continue to bloody each other in the months-long tumult over when and how debates will be set, an issue that has received far more attention from the candidates than any topic a debate would actually address. The saga continued this week after Sodrel dropped out of a debate hosted by Indiana News 9. Sodrel, Hill, and Libertarian Party candidate Eric Schansberg had agreed to face off on October 1 in what would have been the second debate of the season.
But Sodrel withdrew from the event because his presence may be required for votes in Washington, said Cam Savage, his campaign manager, who argues that votes typically spill over into the weekend at the end of congressional sessions. The move drew howls of protest from Hill and Schansberg. Hill traded a barb that has become a favorite for both major party candidates: that the other is afraid to face him on the issues. Schansberg, meanwhile, questioned Sodrel's veracity by noting that the chances of any vote happening on Yom Kippur are slim to none. Sodrel's camp says it has offered an alternative date of October 5, but that happens to be when the venue is unavailable, says Indiana 9. The clearly frustrated news station sent out a message to fellow media outlets saying, "We have canceled all plans for a Ninth District congressional candidate debate."