Akaka Campaign: No Debate With Thielen

State Rep. Cynthia Theilen
State Rep. Cynthia Theilen
Senator Dan Akaka
Senator Dan Akaka

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Can he campaign? That's a question critics have aimed at Senator Dan Akaka all election season. The latest push is coming from the challenger to the U.S Senate seat, Cynthia Theilen, who accuses Akaka of shying away from a debate.

Cynthia Thielen sent several letters to Senator Dan Akaka, asking to appear together in a debate, forum, or joint appearance.

She says it's the democratic thing to do.  Akaka says his campaign game plan is just fine.

Shaking hands and exchanging hugs and kisses is what Senator Dan Akaka will do to get votes for the general election, despite calls by his opponent to appear in a debate or forum.

"In our democracy, it's the best thing for the voters to see the candidates side by side.  And I believe that's the democratic way to do it," says Theilen.

Cynthia Thielen wants to debate Akaka, especially since he got the endorsement of the Sierra Club environmental group.

"My message to the people of Hawaii is I'm effective, I can lead the change in our energy policy nationwide and that's where it must happen," she said.

A spokeswoman for Akaka's campaign says a debate won't happen because of two things. First, he feels travelling and talking to people face to face is the best way to campaign and second, his opponent was appointed to run, versus elected by the people.

"I find that rather puzzling because he was appointed originally. So I don't really understand that response at all," says Theilen.

Bottom line though, Akaka's campaign says there's no chance for a debate. No matter how much Thielen wants one.