It won't be a debate—but Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and his Democratic challenger Dr. Mary Headrick have both agreed to meet and express their positions in the same room, in a forum at the Bradley County Public Library scheduled for Oct. 8.
News of the forum comes after Headrick repeatedly called on the congressman to debate her on issues before the Nov. 6 election. Headrick, an acute care physician from Maynardville, said she would still prefer to have the opportunity to "face off" with her opponent before 3rd District voters in public.
"I believe it is in the best interest of the voters of the 3rd District to see candidates face off on important issues," Headrick said in a news release. "I believe that more information, not less, is what the voters need and want from their candidates. Voters deserve to know not only what the candidates' positions are, but they also deserve to see how well we present them and can argue our positions."
Tyler Threadgill, spokesman for the Fleischmann campaign, said that the congressman had accepted the invitation to the forum but had no other events with Headrick scheduled at this point.
"Really, I think we only have one other invitation out there, and we're trying to work on a date," Threadgill said.
Threadgill has said Fleischmann would debate Headrick at least once before Election Day. Fleischmann and Headrick participated in at least two events during the primary season, a forum on health care between candidates of both parties held at Erlanger Hospital and a candidate forum held by the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors.
Updated @ 9:44 a.m. on 09/14/12 to change the number of primary season events that Fleischmann and Headrick participated in together from one to two.