Pennsylvania state Sen. Scott Wagner — the Republican nominee for governor — made incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf an offer he pretty much could refuse.
Wagner floated a challenge to the sitting Democrat to debate him in each of the Keystone State's 67 counties before the Nov. 6 election in a town hall-style during which candidates answer residents' questions, the Morning Call reported.
“It’s time for Pennsylvanians to have a gubernatorial campaign that focuses on them for a change,” Wagner said in a campaign statement, the paper reported. “They deserve candidates who are not afraid to provide direct and personalized answers on their plans for the future of the commonwealth. I believe that Gov. Wolf is failing us, and that it’s important for voters in every county to get a chance to see the differences between us in person so that they can make an informed choice when they head to the polls in November.”
And as the Morning Call pointed out, that would mean covering "44,817 square miles of rural, urban and suburban communities."
How did the governor respond?
As you might expect, Wolf dismissed Wagner's request as a "political gimmick" and said the Republican "is unhinged from the reality of Pennsylvanians," Wolf campaign spokeswoman Beth Melena told the paper.
The Wolf campaign added that Wagner missed several debates against his two GOP primary rivals and noted that one Wagner's then-challengers, Paul Mango, called Wagner a “chicken” and challenged him to “man up” and debate, the Morning Call reported.
"Gov. Wolf will continue traveling around the commonwealth meeting with educators, parents, and students, workers and business owners, seniors, and families affected by the opioid crisis and listening to the issues Pennsylvanians face every day,” Melena added, the paper said.
Any parting shots from Wagner?
Wagner’s campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo minimized Wolf's criticisms and told TheBlaze on Wednesday that Wagner participated in a dozen primary debates and forums.
"The only person coming off as out of touch in this scenario is Tom Wolf. By refusing to join Scott in taking questions directly from the voters in every county, the governor is showing he does not care about the people of Pennsylvania and thinks he is above providing them with an explanation for his record and where he wants to take the commonwealth," Romeo said, adding that the number of primary debates Wagner participated was "more than any Republican gubernatorial nominee in modern history."
Here's how Wagner's campaign put things on Twitter:
Disappointed Governor Wolf declined my proposal for us to do a town hall debate in every county. He thinks he is ab… https://t.co/R2eHcydzrj— Scott R. Wagner (@Scott R. Wagner)1527705310.0
This story has been updated.