Munson still says no debate

August 31, 2010

State Sen. Donald F. Munson rejected all possibilities of a debate this year as he refused a new invitation from challenger Del. Christopher B. Shank.

Both candidates have been campaigning all year. There was no public discussion of a debate until last week, when Munson's former campaign manager, Ryan Miner, suggested the idea. Shank said yes; Munson said no.

On Tuesday, with the primary two weeks away, Shank dropped a letter at Munson's office proposing a debate. "The citizens of Washington County need to hear directly from both of us," Shank wrote.

In an interview, Shank said, "I can't think of any other (more) valuable campaign activity for the voters, especially undecided voters, than appearing before them and allowing them to question us ... about our respective records in Annapolis."


But Munson, as he did with Miner's idea, again said no, calling Shank's new proposal a "desperate" attempt at free publicity. He said he thinks Miner is behind the new debate proposal, which Shank insisted isn't true.

"I never considered debating him because of his terrible, terrible record," Munson said. "I think the citizens clearly understand how bad his record is."

Munson noted that early voting for the primary starts Friday.

After Miner suggested a debate in a letter to the editor, Williamsport Mayor James G. McCleaf II offered the town's Springfield Barn as a venue.

In addition, Brian Flook, the outgoing chairman of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, and Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., the chairman of the county's delegation in Annapolis, have each offered to moderate.

Myers, who is staying neutral in the state Senate primary, said a debate makes sense and he hopes Munson participates. "I think the citizens of District 2 have the right to hear what he has to say," Myers said.

The only other time Munson and Shank are scheduled to appear together before the primary is a Sept. 8 Chamber of Commerce forum. The candidates will answer questions they were given ahead of time, but won't debate.

-- Andrew Schotz

"On The Campaign Trail" will run periodically. Send campaign news and tips to Andrew Schotz at For information about local, state and federal candidates who have filed to run in the coming election, go to and click on "Tristate Elections."

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