Tags: 2014 Midterm Elections | Kansas | Senate | Roberts | debate

Kansas Sen. Roberts Confronted About Refusal to Debate

Image: Kansas Sen. Roberts Confronted About Refusal to Debate Sen. Pat Roberts, R-KS (Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI/Landov)

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 12:05 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

Tea party challenger Milton Wolf confronted Sen. Pat Roberts about the incumbent's refusal to hold a formal debate.

As Roberts walked along the sidewalk during a walking tour of downtown Emporia, Wolf, a radiologist, approached the three-term senator and demanded to know why he has not agreed to debate. The encounter was posted on YouTube.

Roberts attempted to evade Wolf saying that "this is not the time" to discuss potential debates.

"When would be the appropriate time? Because I’ll go anywhere you like," responded Wolf as Roberts was ushered away by his staff.

Roberts continues to hold a substantial lead over Wolf, but the latest Survey/USA poll shows his advantage has declined from 33 points in June to 20 points in the July survey.

If he wins the primary, Roberts would face Democrat Chad Taylor. The two most recent polls show Roberts with either a healthy lead of 17 points or a slim advantage of 5 points, according to Real Clear Politics.

After the confrontation, Wolf told WBIW-AM that Roberts was breaking the promise he made to Kansans that he would debate.

"There is only one of two reasons why he won’t debate. Either he lacks the ability to debate important issues for Kansans, or he is so arrogant Sen. Roberts won't stand before Kansas voters and answer the difficult questions," he told a WBIW-AM reporter.

"We've been trying to put together a debate for months, adding that he even offered to travel to Roberts' home in Virginia for a debate," Wolf said.

"Let a desperate candidate with an immature record and an unethical record pull stunts like this and let Sen. Roberts get down to the business he came here to do, all right?" Roberts spokesman Sean Fitzpatrick told reporters as Roberts continued his walking tour.

Fitzpatrick said Wolf should be spending less time pulling stunts and more time with his lawyers, a reference to an ongoing investigation by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts of posts Wolf made to his personal Facebook page of X-rays of dead and injured people.

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, which broke the story of the social media posts in February, the posts were removed prior to his announcing his Senate campaign. Wolf has said the "were intended to be humorous and educational."

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