The Gazette of Colorado Springs erroneously suggested Doug Lamborn, Republican candidate for Colorado's 5th congressional seat, declined "weeks ago" to face Democratic candidate Jay Fawcett in a series of debates because Lamborn was "busy running in a six-way GOP primary." In fact, Fawcett didn't issue the challenge to Lamborn until after the primary was held -- which The Gazette itself reported August 16.
UPDATE: On September 13,The Gazette corrected the news story noted in this item.
In a September 9 article,* The Gazette of Colorado Springs erroneously suggested that Doug Lamborn, Republican candidate for Colorado's 5th District congressional seat, declined "weeks ago" to face Democratic candidate Jay Fawcett in a series of debates because Lamborn was "busy running in a six-way GOP primary." In fact, while the primary election was held August 8, Fawcett didn't issue the challenge to Lamborn until a week after the primary, on August 14 -- a fact The Gazette itself reported in an August 16 article by reporter Ed Sealover.
According to Sealover's August 16 report, "Fawcett issued a news release listing six groups to host debates and five specific dates on which they would be held." Though The Gazette further reported that the Lamborn campaign said it was not aware of the challenge and criticized Fawcett for issuing the challenge through the media rather than to Lamborn directly, that article did not claim that Lamborn rejected the challenge due to constraints relating to his primary race.
From the August 16 Gazette:
The first debate of the 5th Congressional District general election race is about debates.
Democrat Jay Fawcett challenged Republican Doug Lamborn to six debates Monday [the 14th] -- sort of.
Fawcett issued a news release listing six groups to host debates and five specific dates on which they would be held. But one organization said a Fawcett representative had canceled the proposed event, and Lamborn's campaign said it had not received the challenge from Fawcett.
Fawcett campaign manager Wanda James maintained that the point of the challenge is to force Lamborn to discuss issues. The state senator last week won a bruising six-way Republican primary in his bid to succeed GOP Rep. Joel Hefley.
Lamborn campaign manager Jon Hotaling renewed a commitment to debate Fawcett and said he is working with groups to set up the events. Fawcett's challenge - made to the media rather than to Lamborn - just threw into question his desire to discuss issues, Hotaling said.
Fawcett's release listed specific dates in September and October when the men would meet before groups like the League of Women Voters and NAACP. James said they hope to do many more - including one in each of the district's six counties - but want to use these as a starting point.
But one of the listed hosts, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said Tuesday that a Fawcett campaign worker canceled the debate because not enough microphones were available. James later confirmed that.
From the September 9 Gazette:
There are no debates scheduled in the 5th Congressional District race, but at least the candidates aren't arguing over the dimensions of the table and have moved on to sparring over the time and the place.
On Friday, Republican candidate Doug Lamborn proposed a series of four debates beginning in mid-October. Democrat Jay Fawcett replied that "we'll debate any time, any place, but let's get out there next week. I think it's a little convenient that all his dates are after the absentee ballots go out."
Fawcett proposed a series of debates weeks ago, but Lamborn, a state senator, was busy running in a six-way GOP primary.
Correction: Due to an editing error, the original version of this item inaccurately stated that the September 9 Gazette article was written by reporter Ed Sealover. In fact, the article contained no byline, and Sealover subsequently informed Colorado Media Matters that he "did not write that article." Colorado Media Matters regrets the error.