Republican challengers in the June 23 Republican primary for NY-27 are jabbing at endorsed candidate Christopher L. Jacobs, claiming he is ducking a debate sought by WIVB-TV.
Beth A. Parlato and Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. say they agreed to a full-fledged debate among the trio on June 16, but that Jacobs will participate only in an "interview" format with Channel 4 reporters.
On Saturday, Parlato launched the criticism of Jacobs – the state senator from Orchard Park – for avoiding the potential of direct confrontation with his opponents.
"The career politician is refusing to debate me. Why? What is he hiding? Is he afraid that his liberal voting record will be exposed?" she asked. "If Jacobs is refusing to debate me, how can he debate anyone or stand up for anything in Congress?
"If he can’t even debate me, he certainly doesn’t have what it takes to stand up to AOC, Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer," she added, referring to Democratic leaders in Congress.
Parlato, a family law attorney and former Darien town justice, said Channel 4 suggested the debate against her primary challengers several weeks ago and she accepted. On Friday, she said Channel 4 told her the debate is canceled because Jacobs refused the format.
Mychajliw also said he agreed to participate after Channel 4 originally issued an invitation for a three-way debate.
"I agreed, but through no fault of Channel 4, Chris Jacobs was afraid to debate, maybe because of his liberal record," Mychajliw said. "He doesn't want to be questioned about that before the primary.
Mychajliw, the Erie County comptroller, said he accepted the interview format from Channel 4, but would prefer directly facing his opponents in a live debate.
Jacobs spokesman Cam Savage noted the candidate has agreed to a one-on-one debate with Democrat Nate McMurray, who will meet Jacobs in a simultaneous special election to fill the 27th District vacancy, also on June 23.
"We agreed to another format for the primary," Savage said, adding he preferred Channel 4 to divulge details, but that he expected the interviews would air over a series of days.
Savage would not address if the Jacobs campaign declined to participate in a debate.
"I will just tell you what we agreed to," he said.
Channel 4 officials did not return a phone call requesting comment on Saturday.