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Published October 21 2010

Peterson turns down push for public debates

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson has turned down the request by his Republican challenger for the Congressional seat in Minnesota’s 7th District to conduct debates before a public audience.

Peterson’s spokeswoman, Allison Myhre, said there’s not enough time before the election to arrange more debates, particularly given there are two more still to be held – both airing Oct. 27, one on Minnesota Public Radio and another televised on Prairie Public.

Myhre said the Aug. 24 letter in which GOP candidate Lee Byberg suggested a series of public debates was received, but staff for Peterson expected a follow-up on the request. Byberg did request that Peterson respond in the letter, either in writing or by phone.

Byberg raised the issue on Monday during a stop in Moorhead and released a second letter sent to Peterson on Wednesday, again seeking debates in front of an audience.

Brittni Palke, Byberg’s campaign manager, said she was surprised Peterson wasn’t interested in having the additional debates.