Why is Steny Hoyer Ducking Out of Debate Request from Progressive Female Candidate?

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Two photos side by side with McKayla Wilkes at a rally holding a poster that says Our Revolution and Steny hoyer on the left with a backdrop that says CEO Council and Wall St. Journal.
McKayla Wilkes who is running to unseat Steny Hoyer in Maryland's 5th District has asked for a debate with incumbent Hoyer. So far he has refused.

WALDORF, MD – Rep. Steny Hoyer refuses to debate his challenger, Mckayla Wilkes

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland’s 5th District has refused to debate his progressive Democratic primary challenger, Mckayla Wilkes. The Washington Post has agreed to moderate the debate, but still Rep. Hoyer declined to participate. 

After multiple formal requests from Wilkes that received no response from the congressman, Rep. Hoyer was asked by an MD-05 constituent during his telephone Town Hall if he would debate Wilkes. Rep. Hoyer made it clear that he did not believe a debate was necessary, stating that “I go to my grocery store almost every week, there’s hardly a time I go to the grocery store and someone doesn’t come up and talk to me…. I think that there’s not going to be any confusion in the voters’ minds about where Steny Hoyer stands on the issues.”

Wilkes believes Rep. Hoyer owes his constituents a better explanation. “The constituents of Maryland’s 5th District deserve better. They deserve the opportunity to hear from Rep. Hoyer and myself before the April 28th election to further explain our differences so that they can make up their own minds as to who they’d like representing them next term,” Wilkes said. 

“Hoyer and I are two very different types of Democrats. For instance, I support policies like the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All, and ending the federal prohibition on cannabis, all of which Hoyer opposes. I have also vowed to take no money from corporate PACs. Alternatively, Hoyer has accepted money from fossil fuel, pharmaceutical, and defense industries. If Hoyer believes he is standing on the right side of history, he should be able to defend his positions to his constituents.”

Wilkes’ team has set up a petition page in order to pressure Hoyer to engage in a debate.

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