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If no Sheffield, HD 55 debate to feature challenger White, empty chair

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In 2012, Clint Eastwood captured attention at least of the political class with his Republican National Convention speech that featured the veteran actor and director addressing his policy concerns to an empty chair representing the not-present President Barack Obama. A similar scenario may soon play out in Bell County if state Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple, opts out of a debate challenge issued by his District 55 Republican Primary challenger, Molly White.

Per a release from the White campaign, Sheffield was invited to participate in a mid-February open debate to be hosted by the Central Texas Tea Party. Sheffield reportedly refused the invitation responding, “It would be a waste of my time!”

The release further details White’s response:

When I invited Mr. Sheffield to debate he commented “he would tear me up.” When I informed him that I have debated before and that I am a public speaker and would like the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with him on the issues, he refused the invitation and hung up on me.

I was quite shocked. You would think he would welcome the opportunity to defend his record and talk about the issues but Mr. Sheffield’s response is a reflection of how out of touch he is with the citizens he is supposed to represent.

I will be there whether Mr. Sheffield shows up or not. I guess I can debate the empty chair like Clint Eastwood did during the Republican National Convention in 2012, if Mr. Sheffield decides the voters are not important enough to hear him on the issues. Talking to folks about my conservative views on issues and listening to their concerns about the issues our great State is facing is what I am interested in.

The Republican Primary election is March 4. Early voting runs Feb. 18 through Feb. 28.

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