HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mazie Hirono and Ed Case are at odds over the number of debates and joint appearances scheduled before the primary election in their race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Congresswoman Hirono released a schedule Thursday that includes five debates or candidate forums, which her campaign said would reach "a wide array of audiences."
But former Congressman Case said that it won't do that at all. He maintained that Hirono turned down several other debate invitations, including those from commercial T.V. stations for debates that would have been televised statewide.
"I think it's an insult to Hawaii voters. Voters want to hear their candidates side by side, openly, directly, flesh out the issues we have to face, like fixing our economy and fixing Washington D.C., and to outright avoid the voters is just not the way to conduct a campaign," said Case.
Hirono released a statement, in which she said, "I look forward to having a conversation with the people of Hawaii about my plans to help our families through these challenging times, protect Social Security and Medicare for our kupuna, strengthen our economy, and create a more sustainable future for our state."
"I don't know who they think they're fooling," Case said. "We welcome the debates that she did agree to, but the fact of the matter is they agreed to the minimum number of debates, with the minimum amount of reach statewide, to be able to say that they agreed to some debates without actually going out there and exposing their campaign."
Hirono's statement also said, "I'm pleased that these debates and joint forums will include a neighbor island debate, and sponsorships by public radio and public television."
The events include:
May 25 -- Hosted joint forum by the Oahu County Democrats
May 29 -- Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association
June 12 -- Maui Debate hosted by the Maui AARP
June 13 -- Radio debate sponsored by Hawaii Public Radio
June 14 -- Televised candidate forum hosted by PBS Hawaii
Former Gov. Linda Lingle and John Carroll are running in the Republican primary.