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Bilbray Challenges Peters To Four Debates; Peters Says Bilbray Is Ducking

Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray today challenged his Democratic 52nd District opponent Scott Peters to four debates with a variety of formats, provoking a sharp response from the Peters campaign.

Bilbray called for four one-hour debates to begin next month, one on the new U-T San Diego television operation, one at NBC 7/39, the third hosted by KFMB radio personality Mike Slater and the last with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"These various formats allow Mr. Peters and I the opportunity to get our message out and appeal directly with voters,'' Bilbray said. "The voters of the 52nd District deserve the chance to hear from former Councilman Peters and I about our records and how we are going to tackle our nation's problems.''

Democrats have targeted Bilbray for years and believe that recent redistricting gives them an opportunity to unseat the incumbent in November.

Mary Anne Pintar of the campaign for Peters, now a port commissioner, said her boss agreed to the debates weeks ago and alleged that Bilbray has been ducking them.

"Mr. Bilbray has issued a challenge to debates we agreed to weeks ago,'' Pintar said. "We're just pleased he's finally stepped up.''

She said other organizations have been trying to arrange debates, but the incumbent would not agree to them.

Bilbray's campaign did not immediately return a message seeking a response.

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