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Friday, October 28, 2016

 10:01 AM 

Spokesman: Ryan won't debate Dem challenger ahead of Nov. 8 election

House Speaker Paul Ryan will not debate his general election opponent ahead of the Nov. 8 election as he continues to travel the country to help fellow Republicans in the closing days of the campaign.

Ryan, R-Janesville, has regularly debated his general election opponents, even as he has been heavily favored to win his southeastern Wisconsin district. 

He did not debate his opponent in 2012 while on the GOP ticket as the vice presidential nominee, but told WisPolitics.com in a September interview that he planned to debate Dem Ryan Solen. Since then, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's performance at the top of the ticket has ramped up concerns about possible Republican losses in the House and Senate. 

“Voters in the 1st Congressional District know who Paul is and they know what he stands for,” Ryan campaign spokesman Zack Roday wrote in an email. “They see him in their communities and know that he is always working on their behalf. Paul will be campaigning in the 1st District in the final week of the election season but he will not be participating in a debate."

Ryan has been traveling the country in recent weeks raising money for fellow Republicans as they seek to hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate. That includes events in the 8th CD with GOP candidate Mike Gallagher last week, and he plans to stump with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and other Republicans across Wisconsin in the final four days of the race.

Lauren Young, Solen’s chief of staff, said the campaign is disappointed Ryan declined to debate his Dem challenger or respond directly to their numerous requests for one.

“We were hoping to share our views and learn more about his views, which he hasn’t been sharing with the constituents of the first Congressional district,” Young said. “He hasn’t been in Wisconsin very much and is campaigning out of state for other Republicans and seems to be coasting on name recognition.”

-- By JR Ross


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