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Tipsheet

Is This Why a VA Dem Decided to Run for the Hills Instead of Debating Her Republican Opponent?

These events shouldn’t be a scheduling kerfuffle, especially at the congressional level. It’s a simple process. Two candidates agree to have a debate, a third supposedly nonpartisan organization sponsors the event, and the two sides duke it out—peacefully. Voters get to hear two plans for governing which leads to Election Day to decide who persuaded whom the best. In Virginia’s seventh congressional district, the debates have gone off the rails, and both sides have pulled out of these events. Democratic incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger wanted to debate her Republican opponent, Yesli Vega, in Fredericksburg last month. Vega declined. Spanberger decided to run away from a planned October 21 debate reportedly over refusing to answer questions about Del. Elizabeth Guzman’s proposed changes to the state’s child abuse laws.

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Yet, Spanberger was also not pleased with the choice of moderator, who happens to be our own Larry O’Connor, smearing him as a lying right-wing host who has hurled mountains of vitriol against Democrats. O’Connor was to co-moderate it with PBS’s Lisa Desjardins—putting to rest the notion that the Virginia Democrat would be unfairly disadvantaged at this venue.

 O’Connor would like to know who the hell set this whole thing up because someone didn’t get the memo. Either Spanberger approved O’Connor as a debate moderator and is now fleeing for the hills since the climate for Democrats in 2022 is downright atrocious, or she was never informed of the selection by the Virginia League of Women Voters from the outset:

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If Spanberger thinks she’s going down, she might as well go out in a blaze of glory and go full-on human wave charge a la the Japanese on Okinawa. Go out with a bang and debate Vega. While some Republicans averted debates this cycle, it’s mostly been a virus that’s infected members of the Democratic Party.

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