The campaign of Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13) chafed under a reaction today by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to a campaign staffer’s attempt at passing a debate invite to the Democratic incumbent.
“It’s no surprise that Senator Menendez refused to accept our invitation to debate,” said Kyrillos Campaign Manager Chapin Fay. “Menendez doesn’t have a plan to create jobs, but he does have a record. A record of skyrocketing unemployment, high taxes, exploding debt, and reckless government spending. New Jerseyans deserve to hear from the candidates, one of whom will represent them in Washington — apparently Bob Menendez disagrees.”
A Kyrillos staffer tried to pass Kyrillos’ written debate challenge to Menendez as the senator headed through the rain in Elmwood Park this morning.
Menendez was receiving the endorsement of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
The senator shook the staffer’s hand but rejected the young man’s proferred note, an encounter caught on camera by the Republican’s campaign.
Menendez didn’t know what the note was, according to a bystander sympathetic to the senator.
The Menendez Campaign dismissed the rain-sopped episode as a bush league political stunt.
“There will certainly be debates and Senator Menendez looks forward to them,” said Paul Brubaker, campaign spokesman. “Rest assured, Senator Menendez will appreciate the chance to put his record, accomplishments and plans to help New Jersey’s middle class up against his opponent before the voters.”
Kyrillos sent a copy of his letter to PolitickerNJ.com, and it is printed below…
“Dear Senator Menendez:
“One of us will be the next United States Senator from New Jersey. We will be tasked with finding a solution to the rising unemployment and exploding deficits and debt that are wrecking havoc on our country. The ongoing fiscal crisis has largely been caused by Washington’s inability to create certainty for the economy and the demands of powerful special interests and unions and the politicians who do their bidding. We will have to make tough choices to return America to prosperity and stability. I am willing to make these tough choices. New Jerseyans would benefit from knowing your position.
“New Jeseryans need to know our positions on these important issues before, not after, the election. That’s why I have released a comprehensive jobs plan. When you publish press statements you carefully avoid such specifics. And by drastically limiting your exposure to the press and the public, you are avoiding being pinned down in live questioning. But these are new times. New Jerseyans want leaders, not politicians. Difficult times require a leader who is able to get results.
“We owe New Jerseyans a serious conversation about fixing our country, so I hope you will join me in a series of 5 debates across the Garden State that cover separate topics. I suggest a debate on each of these topics – jobs and the economy, taxes, spending, education and government ethics. We must also ensure maximum viewership of our debates so that the voters can make an informed decision come November.
“I am committed to working with you to ensure that all New Jerseyans know where we stand on the issues that matter most to them. I await your call at my campaign headquarters at (732) 957-1580. I look forward to hearing from you and I look forward to vigorous debates of these critical issues.”
Watch the exchange between Menendez and the staffer here…