Candidates in 89th set for only public debate

October 12, 2004|by DON AINES

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. - Voters who want to see the candidates for the 89th District to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives debate might get their only chance Wednesday at Shippensburg University.

Republican nominee Rob Kauffman and Democratic nominee Doug Harbach will meet at 7 p.m. in the Old Main Chapel, fielding questions from a panel made up of a members of the College Democrats and College Republicans and Sara Grove, the interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The forum will be moderated by Patricia Spakes, the provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The debate was originally scheduled for 8 p.m., but was moved up an hour because the third debate between President Bush and Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry will start at 9 p.m.


"It will be the only one that's open to the public, where the candidates answer questions, show their skills on their feet and differentiate each other," Harbach said Monday.

"I would have embraced the opportunity to debate the issues at more venues," Harbach said.

"We've accepted all invitations. We have not turned down any invitations in the district to sit down and talk about the issues," Kauffman said.

While open to invitations, Kauffman said his campaign has not gone out of its way to schedule debates, preferring a door-to-door campaign.

Kauffman said the candidates have previously made joint appearances before the Chambersburg Rotary Club and the Franklin County Association for the Blind.

The candidates will have at least one more face-to-face meeting at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, but that will be on radio and co-sponsored by a local newspaper, Harbach said. There will be no public attendance at that forum, he said.

Kauffman said he and Harbach are also scheduled to appear at a meeting of the Franklin County Builders Association on Oct. 25 in Greencastle, Pa.

Harbach the candidates also have been invited to speak before the same civic groups, but on different dates.

The questions at Wednesday's debate will be submitted in advance by students, according to a university news release.

Harbach, the vice president of e-LYNXX Corp., and Kauffman, a Greene Township supervisor, are vying to replace former state Rep. Jeff Coy, who resigned his seat last month to take a position on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Coy, an 11-term Democrat, had announced in February that he would not seek a 12th term in the House.

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