Steve Scalise Ducks Debate?

ElectionsPoliticsMeteorological DisastersSteve ScaliseHurricanes and Tropical Storms

Steve Scalise Ducks Debate?

Jim Harlan Still Waiting on Day 3 of Debate Challenge

"Steve Scalise apparently doesn't want to give voters the opportunity to compare us on the issues. He knows my real world expertise and knowledge will make him look like the inexperienced, career politician that he is," - Jim Harlan

Covington, La - Steve Scalise, who habitually ducks out of public face-offs with political opponents, appears again to be running away from a debate with businessman Jim Harlan in their race for the First Congressional District seat.

The League of Women Voters in St. Tammany Parish plans to host a candidate debate later this month between Harlan and Scalise, but Scalise has yet to agree despite several phone call requests from a league representative. Harlan agreed immediately.

"Maybe Scalise is going to take another taxpayer-funded trip to Alaska instead," said Harlan's campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Stanley. "The far reaches of the continent seem to be Scalise's destination of choice when he wants to avoid confronting the issues of the First District."

Stanley was referring to Scalise's decision to fly to Alaska for a photo-op at the beginning of hurricane season instead of staying in his district to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss ongoing hurricane recovery and protection needs.

Harlan also agreed this week to a debate with Scalise hosted by the Press Club of New Orleans. Harlan was waiting Tuesday afternoon to hear if Scalise would duck that debate.

"I'm eager to discuss the issues in-depth and outline my plans for district," Harlan said. "Voters deserve to know what I can do for them, and I look forward to telling them during the debates. I am confident that when they compare my expertise and knowledge of the pressing problems we face as a nation and region, it will be obvious I'm the better candidate to represent our district in Washington."

Scalise ducked out of the same League of Women Voters debate at the last minute in May when he was running against Gilda Reed. He also canceled a radio appearance that was to have both candidates on the air during the special election race.

"Scalise is mistaken if he thinks if he can keep playing the partisan posturing game and cake walk back into office," Stanley said. "He can't hide behind party politics anymore. Voters want to know who the candidates are beyond the letter behind their name."

On Saturday, Jim Harlan, who has made a commitment to being a bipartisan force in Congress, won the primary with more votes than Scalise had when he took the First District seat in May. Immediately afterwards, Harlan challenged Scalise to three televised debates.

Harlan suggested Scalise was threatened by a recent poll, which shows Harlan is within 11 percentage points of the Freshman Congressman in a head-to-head race.

"Jim Harlan's meteoric rise in the polls is evidence that the people of the First District want a representative with real world experience who is focused on solving problems with common sense solutions. They are tired of the do-nothing Congress and career politicians like Steve Scalise who spends more time bickering over party politics than working for the needs of the district."

After more than thirty years as a successful businessman, with experience in energy, healthcare and defense sectors, Jim Harlan will bring common sense, bottom-line solutions to energy, hurricane protection and healthcare problems facing Louisiana's families and businesses. Like the people of Louisiana, Jim Harlan believes the first step in changing America is to change the people we send to Congress. For more information on Jim Harlan's background and achievements, go to

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times