Banks explains why he’s not debating on October 27th, challengers criticize decision

Banks explains why he’s not debating on October 27th, challengers criticize decision
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:50 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - On October 27, WANE TV scheduled a debate for Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District between incumbent Jim Banks, Democratic challenger Gary Snyder, and Independent candidate Nathan Gotsch.

Banks’ representatives stated there was a scheduling conflict and wouldn’t be able to make the debate on the 27th.

His challengers took issue with the congressman’s decision when we spoke with them at Tuesday’s NAACP candidate forum.

Snyder said, “This is someone that’s going to represent them in Washington for the next two years. You know when you decide not to come back here and debate your opponents and talk about the issues, then it’s problematic.”

“What I hear every day from voters is they are frustrated that our representative doesn’t seem to care about them about what they think,” Gotsch explained. “ He Isn’t willing to take questions, isn’t willing to put himself in the position that the rest of us in this race are which is explaining why we’re running taking the tough questions from the voters.”

We tried to speak with Banks earlier this week at an event, but he left without answering questions. Our team also asked called Banks’ office for an interview, but a spokesperson said he was unavailable at that time.

On Wednesday, we finally talked to the congressman while he was in Columbia City for an event.

We asked him why he was unable to attend the debate, Banks said, “It’s a date we have a commitment. October 27th, I long ago committed to the Topeka Crisis Pregnancy Center up in LaGrange County and I’m very much looking forward to speaking with them.”

Banks is referring to the Compassion Pregnancy Centers in LaGrange’s fundraising banquet, which will be held in the town of Topeka on October 27th.

His opponents believe Banks is ignoring the people he represents by not debating, saying Banks is not willing to face the issues.

Gotsch said, “It is so important for voters to be able to see the candidates together so that they can compare them and make the best decision in November.”

“If you can’t come back and face the issues and face the voters, then you don’t really need to be in Washington,” Snyder explained.

When asked if Banks would be willing to debate his opponents on a different date, he responded, “Yeah, we’re open to proposals. If other organizations or outlets want to send an invitation to a debate with dates that work for all of the candidates.”

Our team is working to schedule extended interviews with each of the candidates in this race. We will provide updates when available.