House races

Citing Rep. Grayson’s ‘gutter theatrics,’ GOP challenger refuses to debate

After Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) attacked his Republican challenger Dan Webster as “Taliban Dan” in a recent campaign ad, Webster is refusing to share the stage with him for a debate.

Webster’s campaign made the decision official Wednesday, hitting Grayson’s “vile and wildly dishonest accusations” and “lack of decorum” in a statement.

“I have run a positive campaign without making a single personal attack on Congressman Grayson, and I pledge to continue to do so throughout this campaign,” Webster said. “Being on a stage with him at this point would make keeping that commitment almost impossible. I do not believe that a debate with Alan Grayson will be anything more than gutter theatrics.”  

Grayson’s recent attack ad was widely panned by observers. The spot accuses Webster of wanting to “impose his radical fundamentalism on us,” and employs a black-and-white shot of Webster reciting a Bible passage that reads, “Wives, submit yourself to your own husband.”

The full video of Webster’s comments make it clear that Grayson’s ad quotes the Republican wildly out of context. 

Polls show Grayson in serious trouble this fall and the two candidates have been in a face-off over debates for weeks. 

Webster has demanded to debate Grayson one-on-one, but the incumbent has insisted on the inclusion of “TEA Party” candidate Peg Dunmire–a candidate conservative activists in the district claim is nothing more than a Democratic plant to siphon votes away from Webster. 

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