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Is Rep. Jordan avoiding debates with challenger Garrett?

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Sep 5, 2018 at 5:37 PM

FREMONT — U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan, the 12-year incumbent Republican from Urbana, has decided to reject all requests to debate retired teacher Janet Garrett, according to the Democratic nominee for Ohio’s 4th congressional district seat.

Two weeks ago, the Garrett campaign reached out to Jordan’s office to propose debates in each of the five media markets in the sprawling district.

One of Jordan’s representatives, Kevin Eichinger, said the allegation that Jordan won’t debate Garrett “is completely untrue.”

“We have always debated and will continue that tradition. Actually, on Monday (Aug. 27), I emailed their campaign confirming one. That accusation is straight from the Democrat playbook,” Eichinger told the Reflector via email.

Garrett told the Norwalk Reflector in a recent interview “what we’re not seeing going on in Congress right now” is compromise and a willingness to listen to other perspectives. For 20 years of her 35-year teaching career, she was on the executive council of her teachers’ union.

“You have to be willing to listen to the viewpoint of the people on the other side and find the common ground. That’s the most important thing,” Garrett told the Reflector.

The debates would be held on dates agreeable to both campaigns and occur in September, prior to the start of early voting. Last week, Jordan’s campaign responded to the request by rejecting all five of the proposed debates, even one held in Jordan’s hometown of Urbana and conducted by his local newspaper, Garrett said.

“How does a politician get to a point where they feel the most basic obligation to their constituents no longer applies to them?” Garrett said last week at an elementary school in Fremont. “This is a clear example of how Washington is broken. He wants to be Speaker of the House, yet he can't come talk to the people he represents.”

The suggested sites for the debates would be the fourth district cities of Urbana, Elyria, Lima, Marion and Fremont.

The Garrett campaign has said five debates are necessary due to how the district was drawn by Republicans in 2012.

“This district was deliberately gerrymandered to divide voters into five media markets,” said Eric Zagrans, chairman of the Janet Garrett for Congress campaign. “Congressman Jordan’s party drew this district specifically to make it harder to challenge the incumbent and to dilute the votes of the residents in the district. We’re just playing the hand we were dealt.”

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