BY BUDDY NEVINS
Democratic U. S. House candidate Ted Deutch has punked out.
Deutch, who is seeking to replace former U. S. Rep. Robert Wexler, told WFTL-850 am host Jeff Katz today he would not take part in a long-planned broadcast debate.
This according to a WFTL producer, who says Deutch sent an e-mail overnight ducking the debate after weeks of stalling.
Deutch was apparently reluctant to go on Katz’s show. The host is a conservative who calls himself South Florida’s Mr. Right.
Here is the e-mail from Deutch’s campaign:
“I want to let the voters know that the next debate with my fellow candidates will take place on Friday, March 26th at 1 pm in Deerfield Beach. I look forward to once again discussing with the other candidates such critical issues as creating jobs, improving the economy, health care and foreign policy. However, at this time, I will not be appearing on a debate on the Jeff Katz program. The community deserves to hear debates within a constructive and non-partisan environment. Unfortunately, Mr. Katz has made his views about me well known. More importantly, I was disappointed that Mr. Katz did not accurately inform his audience about the fact that my campaign repeatedly told his staff that I could not appear on his program last week due to previously scheduled budget committee hearings in Tallahassee.
Ted Deutch for Congress Campaign
But Katz said on-air Tuesday that he would have acted impartial as a moderator.
Three journalists — The New Times’ Bob Norman, George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post and me — would have questioned Deutch.
I can also assure you that WFTL tried to put this debate together all month. In fact, Deutch backed out at the last minute last week. The debate was being rescheduled before Deutch decided this week to throw in the towel.
It is no surprise to me that Deutch backed out of the debate for good.
But it is disappointing.
Deutch, a state Senate, is way out of in front by numbers alone. U. S. House District 19 has more than two Democrats for every Republican. About one-third of the voters are in north Broward and the rest in Palm Beach County.
There is virtually no chance Deutch’s Republican opponent Ed Lynch can win the April 13 election.
So Deutch has everything to lose and nothing to win by debating.
But the public had everything to win. A debate on Katz’s 50,000-watt WFTL show would have reached every interested voter. Deutch owed it to the public to present his positions.
I believe Deutch would beat the pants off Lynch, whose views on his webpage are confused, unworkable or just wrong.
I read only two paragraphs into his position on health care to find a big flaw. Lynch wrote: “We currently have the best healthcare in the world, which is why Americans don’t leave our country for it.
Somebody should clue Ed Lynch in to the face that the United States’ doesn’t have the best health care in the world. Canada, England and Ireland are among the countries that have a lower child mortality rate, a key statistic.
And Ed, over a million Americans go overseas for treatment, mainly because it is just as good and cheaper.
This is just one issue that Deutch could use to lacerate Lynch in a debate.
Sadly, we won’t get to listen.
If Deutch is worried about taking on a lightweight Republican like Lynch or a broadcaster like Katz, how he will handle the best the GOP has to throw at him in Congress?