On Wednesday, Florida Democratic Party volunteers delivered more than five dozen rubber ducks to Southerland’s Panama City field office to protest his refusal to debate. The ducks symbolize 67 days since Southerland failed to respond to Graham’s debate challenge.
Each rubber duck had hand-written notes saying, “Dear Steve, please stop ducking debates,” and “Debate!”
“It’s been 67 days and Congressman Southerland is still refusing to debate — but that’s not surprising since Congressman Southerland can’t defend his record of shutting down the government and complaining that his taxpayer funded salary isn’t high enough,” said Florida Democratic Party representative Joshua Karp. “It’s past time for Congressman Southerland to stop ducking debates and hiding from North Florida residents and come clean about his record of dysfunctional Washington politics.”
As of Wednesday, Southerland continues to refuse to schedule debate appearances, saying he will only do so when Graham denounces “liberal outside groups who are smearing Steve’s record and misleading voters.”
Karp points out that the Panama City Republican himself benefited from $1.1 million in outside spending against his opponent in 2010 and another $1.5 million against his opponent in 2012.
In addition, he noted that Southerland even called out former opponents for not attending debates.
Graham and Southerland are facing off in November for the region covering the eastern part of the Florida Panhandle, the Big Bend along the Emerald Coast, and both Tallahassee and parts of Panama City.