The Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 5th District says DFL Congressman Keith Ellison is ducking a debate with him.
Chris Fields held a news conference to say Ellison's campaign canceled a debate scheduled to be held in north Minneapolis later today. Fields says Ellison made the move after the two engaged in a heated debate last week in which Ellison called Fields a "low-life scumbag." Ellison later apologized.
"Instead of giving the citizens of the north side and the 5th Congressional District a chance to participate in a substantive debate with a credible opponent, he is ducking the debate," Fields said. "This reflects the fact that Congressman Ellison cannot answer for his record of neglect and is sorely challenged when trying to control his temper."
Ellison, who attended an earlier news conference that focused on Medicare, declined to say whether he canceled the debate.
"It was canceled," Ellison said. "Debates are for illuminating the issues and this one wasn't going to do that. I can't speak for anybody but myself but I didn't think it was helpful to the process."
Ellison said he prefers to focus on the issues heading into the campaign. Minnesota's 5th Congressional District includes Minneapolis and some suburbs.
Both Ellison and Fields will take questions separately today from representatives of the Coalition of Black Churches, Insight News and African American Leadership Forum. The event will be held at the offices of Insight News and will be broadcast on KFAI-FM at a later date.
Update: Ellison's campaign issued this statement:
"After holding more debates than the Presidential race, I have concluded that an additional debate with my Republican opponent is not in the best interest of the 5th District. As I have talked about my record and vision for the future, Mr. Fields has shed little light on his own vision and has pursued personal insults culminating in an attack on my family. I reacted badly, but even after my sincere apology, my opponent has not reset. In fact, he is clearly milking this for political gain. Instead of engaging in another spectacle, I will be out working hard every day, as I have been, for the people."
Fact check/Truth Squad
Ellison **IS** ducking debates.
As you were.
In 2009 I became homeless and started living out of my car. One of the things that surprised me was as the media attention around my story grew, the number contacting me saying “Contact your politician” increased. People even wrote on my behalf to politicians believing they could make a difference. Most simply ignored the letters and emails.
Two tough years living out of my car passed and I never had felt so alone. Then one day out of the blue Keith Ellison tweets me saying he wants to meet. WOW. It was the first sign of hope that I had felt in two years.
Keith Ellison has strong ties to my former employer Delta Airlines. One of his top donors was my old union. I knew based on my contract If my case was reviewed Id get my job back with back pay. I already had the judges ruling all I needed was my contract honored. Back then the Delta merger was going on and I fell through the cracks.
I felt renewed hope having Keith Ellison reach out to me. I contacted his office as he asked me to do and waited. A few days later his office got back to me saying he was too busy to meet.
I tweeted Rep Ellison the info his office gave me. His reply was what his office said was “Not True” and that he just needed to find time.
A few days later.... He Blocked me.
One of the worst things you can do to a homeless person is fuel them with hope and then take it away. I don’t know why Keith Ellison did not end up meeting me. Maybe he was too busy. But I judge a man by his actions not just his words. Keith Ellison was the one to reach out to me not once but twice. He’s the one who gave me hope. And why for whatever reason he felt the need to block me instead of being a man instead of simply saying he had no time is beyond me.
Solving homelessness is a huge task. But I firmly believe that if Keith Ellison had invested a small amount time he could have made a huge impact in helping me get my life back.
If Keith Ellison can not keep his word to the homeless who will he keep it to
How can I contact Chris fields? Does ANYONE have an email address or phone number for him? If so, please email me privately....