Despite last week’s fiery debate, U.S. House 5th District challenger Chris Fields said he wants to verbally spar with Rep. Keith Ellison one more time. Yet he believes Ellison isn’t willing to debate him again, after the Minneapolis Urban League canceled a debate scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Fields held a press conference Tuesday at the State Capitol to ask Ellison to reschedule the debate.
Earlier this week, the Chris Fields for Congress campaign office received an email from Minneapolis Urban League Board Chairman Al McFarlane saying that the debate was canceled due to a scheduling conflict.
Fields' campaign office responded to the email, and offered to find and pay for another venue, but nothing has been scheduled.
Though the email did not come directly from Keith Ellison, Fields said that he assumes Ellison canceled the debate because Al McFarlane is a long-time supporter of Ellision.
"The time to act is now," Fields said. "Instead of giving the citizens of the Northside and the 5th Congressional District a chance to participate in a substantive debate with a credible opponent, [Ellison] is ducking the debate."
The scheduled debate would have been the fourth debate between the two 5th District candidates. Last week, in a heated KFAI debate, Ellison called fields a "lowlife scumbag" and a "gutter dweller."
"Not having this debate at an appropriate and convenient time sends a chilling signal that some people don't count and they don't matter," Fields said. "Congressman Ellison's professional conduct has gotten more extreme and erratic with every election. He continually embarrasses himself, and the 5th Congressional District."
In a reactionary statement emailed to Patch, Ellison said:
"While my campaign has been talking to voters about their issues and their future, Mr. Fields has pursued repeated personal attacks culminating in an insult to my family. I reacted badly and issued an immediate apology. He is clearly milking this for his own political gain--not for the people of the 5th District. After several debates, an additional debate wouldn't promote an effective discussion about the issues facing our district. I will continue fighting everyday for the issues that matter to the people of the 5th District."