Harshbarger says she won’t debate Walsingham in congressional race

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Don’t expect a congressional debate in Northeast Tennessee ahead of the November election.

That’s according to Diana Harshbarger, the Kingsport pharmacist who just won the Republican congressional nomination.

“I won’t be debating,” Harshbarger told News Channel 11 Thursday night after speaking at a Republican gathering in Johnson City.

“I know my opponent’s platform, and I’m not going to dignify that with a response in a debate,” she said.

Harshbarger accused Democratic congressional nominee Blair Walsingham of disparaging law enforcement.

“I’m not going to share a stage when she has blatantly and openly defied our policemen and women,” Hashbarger said. “And she has put things on her website and said she opposes the men and women who protect us, and I won’t be debating.”

Walsingham responded Friday with a news release issued by the campaign.

“My opponent is fueling the black and white, divisive rhetoric that would have voters believe that supporting justice reform is in direct opposition to supporting law enforcement,” she said in a statement.

“If Diana wants to be a productive member of Congress, then she should share her plans,” Walsingham said. “If she can’t talk about the issues now, how can voters count on her to stand up for them in Congress?”

“Most importantly, this is a blatant disregard for the democratic process and shows that she takes voters for granted. She enthusiastically posed for photos with me during the primary, but when it comes time to talk policy, she is running scared because she knows that I have heavy support among conservatives due to policies that reduce bureaucracy and focus on lasting solutions that will provide greater health, freedom and financial security to the voters of the 1st District,” Walsingham said.

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