The challenger for a Catoosa County Commission seat sent a letter to the incumbent requesting a debate, but the incumbent said the request is just "more bull."
"What have I got to debate?" Commissioner Bobby Winters asked Wednesday. "She can't tell me nothing about this county and neither can the Chamber of Commerce."
Stephanie Dickert, a board member for the Catoosa County Chamber, is facing Winters in the Republican primary runoff Tuesday for the District 2 commission seat.
Dickert sent Winters a letter on July 28 asking for a debate.
"I think the voters deserve to hear both of us talk unfiltered about the issues that are facing Catoosa County," Dickert wrote. She said she has not had a response.
Winters said he had gotten the letter, but had no intention of responding. He said he's lived in Catoosa County for nearly 66 years and, with his eight years of experience on the commission, doesn't need to attend debates or forums.
"I ain't got nothing to say to them," Winters said. "The people appreciate what I do."
Dickert criticized Winters for not appearing at a Chamber-sponsored debate on June 24 before the primary.
"Mr. Winters was not there," she said. "The voters have not heard the two of us debate the issues."
Mr. Winters said that on the day of the debate, he was at a state park near Crossville, Tenn., taking "a day's rest just to get away."
Mark Lindsay, who finished third in the GOP primary, threw his support behind Dickert on Tuesday.
He said he acted in part because of Winters' comments in a Times Free Press article criticizing state Sen. Jeff Mullis' support of Dickert. Lindsay said he is close friends with Mullis.
Lindsay said Winters has no room to talk because the commissioner had helped host an event for Jim Pope, who ran against Mullis in the July 20 primary.
Winters said Wednesday he allowed Pope's supporters to use the concession stand that's part of his Hitching Post Flea Market for a campaign event, but would have let Mullis or anyone else use it as well.
Lindsay said the three GOP candidates were invited to speak to the Catoosa County Republican Party on June 26 before the primary but Winters did not show up to speak alongside Lindsay and Dickert.
"I think that it's important for people to know that he will not debate anyone," Lindsay said. "It's always 'poor pitiful me', but he has the same opportunity as everyone else."
Winters said he chose not to appear then and has chosen not to debate Dickert.
"That kind of stuff don't turn me on," he said. "Helping people does."