Taylor must wait; no Myrick debate

Congressional candidate Harry Taylor accused Rep. Sue Myrick of doing a “disservice” to voters because she hasn't agreed to debate him.

Taylor, a Democrat from Charlotte, said Tuesday that his campaign first asked the lawmaker in a Sept. 23 letter to make a joint appearance, and was told by Myrick's staff that it would be considered. Additional attempts to get a debate scheduled were ignored, his campaign said.

Asked about it Tuesday, Myrick said “it's in our schedule file” but the Charlotte Republican didn't know if she could find time for such an event. Myrick noted that typically debates are organized by outside groups like the League of Women Voters.

Later Tuesday, her spokeswoman issued a statement saying that Myrick's district schedule had been abbreviated by Congress staying longer in session to deal with the financial crisis, and her future schedule is tight because of her husband Ed's upcoming spinal surgery.

“Until we see his recovery progress, we are not adding anything new to her schedule,” said Taylor Stanford, a spokeswoman for Myrick, who is finishing her seventh term in Congress.

Taylor's campaign manager Maria Smithson said they wished Ed Myrick a speedy recovery, but added: “The congresswoman had well over a month to respond to our request and gave us the runaround.”

Taylor, a real estate broker, said he was disappointed at Myrick's unwillingness to give the public a chance to hear “both of us at one time,” especially with the challenges facing the nation.

“It is a great disservice to our democracy, and the voters of North Carolina,” he said. “My opponent refuses to stand together before the voters and give them a clear choice in this election.”

Myrick said she makes several public appearances a day. On Tuesday, she'd planned meetings with an uptown forum, Piedmont Natural Gas, and the Mecklenburg Evening Republican Women's Club. She also holds telephone town hall meetings for callers to ask questions.