Gene Taylor, the former congressman who lost that seat to Rep. Steven Palazzo, said he is challenging Palazzo to a debate.
His campaign said it will deliver a letter to Palazzo's Gulfport office on Thursday that says: "As of this date, you have not indicated a response to this invitation to debate, whether negative or affirmative. It is also my understanding that you have declined to take part in the Coast Young Professionals forum with the other candidates and me. Therefore, please let this letter serve as my official debate challenge.
"During your terms as Congressman you have been unwilling to hold town-hall meetings; your constituents have been unable to get answers from you on the issues that impact them. You also show an unwillingness to take part in frequent press availabilities, either within the district or in Washington, which has further shown the voters and the press that you are either unable or unwilling to defend your record.
"The people of South Mississippi deserve a congressman who is not afraid to defend his record to the voters!
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"While I am aware that you have declined to participate in debates in previous campaigns, it is my sincere hope that you will take this opportunity to participate in one of America's greatest forums — a political debate between all candidates, providing answers to the questions and issues of the people they are seeking to represent.
"Sincerely, Gene Taylor"