Washington – The campaign of Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, said Republican challenger Mark Greenberg had pulled out of two of four proposed debates, but the Greenberg campaign said the debates were never scheduled.

Jonathan Kellogg, executive editor of the Republican-American, the Waterbury newspaper that had offered to co-host an Oct. 15 debate in Torrington with the Young Republicans and Young Democrats, said the Greenberg campaign had never confirmed it would participate and time was running out to prepare. So the Republican-American pulled the plug, he said.

“(A debate) can’t be done on the spur of the moment,” Kellogg said. “We waited as long as we possibly could.”

The other debate was to be hosted by the Greater New Britain League of Women’s Voters in New Britain Oct. 18.

League President Mary O’Brien said the Greenberg campaign notified the organization on Thursday that the candidate would not be able to debate on that date.  O’Brien said the campaign offered to send alternative dates, but she’s not optimistic it will be rescheduled.

“We may not have a debate,” O’Brien said.

There are still plans for two other Esty-Greenberg matchups.

One is scheduled on Oct. 9 in Danbury, the other is scheduled on Oct. 21 in Waterbury.

The Esty campaign said Greeberg was “hiding from voters” and urged him to commit to the additional debates. “Voters throughout the 5th District deserve to hear directly from the candidates,” said Laura Maloney, Esty spokeswoman.

The Greenberg campaign replied that the Esty campaign was “yet again trying to distract voters from the record of her and Dan Malloy with lies and distortions. This time it is about debates that were never scheduled.”

The campaign said it had called for televised debates and that Esty’s statements were an “attempt to create a story where there isn’t one, and is just more D.C. politics as usual.”

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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