Paul Gosar has shown himself to be eager to debate Ann Kirkpatrick, except when it comes to actually debating her.
You may remember that after Gosar won his primary, Kirkpatrick challenged him to five debates. A bit over ambitious to be sure, but as of this morning that number has been reduced to zero. Gosar has cancelled the one debate that was scheduled for tomorrow. Gosar has previously bugged out of joint appearances with Kirpatrick before the Arizona Republic editorial board and the Arizona Business and Professional Women, leaving their only joint appearance a cattle call at a “Tea Party” forum in Prescott that included write-in US Senate candidate Ian Gilyeat.
Gosar had agreed to the place and time of the debate in late September.
So, what is the reason for this reticence? “Six hours of wasted driving,” according to his campaign manager.
Gosar’s home is in Flagstaff and his campaign is headquartered in Prescott, both two hours away. Although Phoenix isn’t in the district, it considerably closer than some rather sizeable communities in the district, such as Casa Grande and Safford. A lot of driving is one of the things you sign up for when you run in CD 1. It should be noted that Gosar and his campaign presumably knew this when they agreed to this particular debate last month. It also should be noted that “six hours of wasted driving” was no obstacle when they wanted to do a photo-op with John Boehner.
What it comes down to is this: Gosar has a lot of positions on things like corporate tax cuts and social security that can get him the 30% or so he needed to win a Republican primary, but he darned sure doesn’t want them challenged in front of a more skeptical audience.