Republican Matt Doheny says he'll debate fellow GOPer Kellie Greene in the St. Lawrence County town of Fine with just over two weeks to go before the June 26 primary.
But Ms. Greene, who broached the idea of a debate in the first place, isn't on board, and smells something fishy about the arrangement.
"We’re 99 percent sure we're going to say no, just based on the information we have right now," said Ms. Greene's spokesman, Shane Wikfors. "The information we have right now is virtually nothing."
The Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corp. has proposed holding the debate, the Doheny campaign says. The candidates are looking to take on Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, in November.
But the Greene campaign is suspicious. Mr. Wikfors suggested that the Doheny campaign is trying to "shoehorn" the debate into a time and place that will most benefit them — which entails getting the least amount of attention possible.
"At this point, it looks like Doheny’s campaign wants to hold this in a very small town or hamlet, with no media, with a very small audience, when our objective is to maximize exposure for both campaigns to the entire district media," Mr. Wikfors said.
Fine is indeed a very small town (population: 1,500) in the southeastern part of St. Lawrence County. It's in close proximity to other counties in the district: Franklin, Herkimer, Lewis, Jefferson, Hamilton. The central location, the Doheny camp says, is "ideal."
Not so, said Mr. Wikfors.
"What we see as a criteria for a debate is having a debate with either tea party folks helping moderate this, or credible media and journalists in a market that includes a sizable number of people in the district — whether that’s Watertown, Saratoga, Glens Falls or Plattsburgh," he said. "That’s where the debate should be held."
Walter Todd, an official with the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corp., would host the debate.
There's a little bit of electoral history with the debate, which would take place at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School.
Doug Hoffman and Dede Scozzafava, on the Conservative and Republican lines against Mr. Owens in 2009, attended a "meet the candidates" event there just before the election.
The Times didn't see fit to cover it. But there are certainly some pitfalls to turning down a debate because it's in too small of a town.