published Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

3rd District Congressional candidates to face off in debate in Chattanooga

HOW TO WATCH

The debate will be held at the WTCI studio at 2 p.m. on July 2, and viewers can watch it broadcast at 8 p.m. on WTCI or streaming at timesfreepress.com or wtcitv.org.

GET INVOLVED

Questions tagged #tn3rd on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram will be among those considered for use during the debate. People also may email suggested questions to news@timesfreepress.com.

Two Republican candidates seeking the state's 3rd Congressional District post will meet head to head in their first debate of the campaign season.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and primary challenger Weston Wamp will put their politics to the test on July 2.

Wamp sent out a scathing call to debate Fleischmann.

"I challenge the incumbent to differentiate himself from his friends in Washington who are too busy to spend time face-to-face with constituents back home and immediately commit to participate in all of the congressional forums and debates as I have," Wamp said.

The Fleischmann campaign said the incumbent congressman will be there and ready to go.

"Regardless of the platform or situation. Just as he's done in the past, [Fleischmann has] always looked forward to share his ideas and his conservative voting record with the voters," Fleischmann spokesman Jordan Powell said Tuesday.

The debate will be hosted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and WTCI-TV, Chattanooga's public television station. Times Free Press Business Editor Dave Flessner, who's also a panelist on WTCI's "Tennessee Insider" political show, will moderate the debate.

"It's our mission to inform viewers about the issues that matter in their lives, and we believe the community's daily newspaper and the community's PBS station are a perfect fit in making this a reality," said Paul Grove, president and CEO of WTCI.

And residents will be able to submit questions for the candidates through social media. Other questions will come from Times Free Press and WTCI staff members.

"We're all aware of the ways social media has changed public engagement, and we're asking the public to collaborate with us to make this debate even better," said Times Free Press Editor Alison Gerber.

After the primary election, WTCI and the Times Free Press plan to invite eligible candidates to participate in a general election debate as the November election approaches.

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