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Debate flares over debates in Carnahan, Martin race

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – The main party candidates in Missouri's Third Congressional District race are getting their fair share of debating in over the scheduling of debates.

The war of words erupted over a press release Republican challenger Ed Martin sent out on Monday, outlining a series of three debates with incumbent Democrat Russ Carnahan. But Carnahan called that release a "scam," and said he had never agreed to those dates.

"He's trying to catch up on the debate request," Carnahan said of Martin. "I originally requested debates prior to the primary with all of the candidates through the League of Women Voters."

Martin's debates would be moderated by retired broadcaster Martin Duggan, who has endorsed Ed Martin. But Carnahan would not say if he objected to the format.

Martin said he has no problem with Carnahan's plan for September debates, but wasn't sure why the Congressman wouldn't be at the August forums as well.

"We sent him a letter saying we'll see you on Tuesday. He has yet to call or write or tell anyone he's not coming, so we're assuming that he's available and coming. I mean, he's back home, we know that," Martin said.