J.D. Hayworth Uses New Times for Latest "Debate-Over-Debates" Publicity Stunt

Senate hopeful J.D. Hayworth has scheduled two debates with Senator John McCain, seemingly based on a New Times article featured in Valley Fever yesterday.

As a side note to a post about the McCain campaign's latest Web video -- to point out that McCain says he welcomes debates with Hayworth -- we said that McCain would debate Hayworth "anywhere, anytime." 

Since Hayworth first challenged him to debates a few months ago, McCain has been very vocal in saying that, once Hayworth is a certified candidate, he welcomes any debate with the former congressman, which we reported at the time.

While Hayworth has officially declared his candidacy (which anyone is entitled to do), he will not be certified by the state to officially be on the ballot until June -- assuming he has enough signatures on his ballot petitions.

Hayworth apparently doesn't want to wait until he's a certified candidate before debating "The Maverick," and is using our words -- out of context -- to create a publicity stunt rivaling the lunacy of barging into McCain's campaign headquarters -- media in tote -- to drop off a letter.

Hayworth has scheduled two debates for May 22 and June 2, which is well before any certification would happen, and announced them in a press release -- quoting New Times but apparently without checking with McCain first.

"Congressman Hayworth's latest stunt is 'a symbol of desperation' -- which is exactly what Hayworth himself called similar 'debate over debates' tactics used by his 1996 opponent. While we understand that Congressman Hayworth loves seeing his own face on television, this latest stunt is nothing more than a transparent distraction from the recently unearthed
Hayworth campaign web video highlighting his apparent obsession with man-on-horse marriage and his belief in Count Dracula," says McCain spokesman Brian Rogers.

According to the McCain campaign, until Hayworth is certified, it's not clear whether he'll even be on the ballot.

"Congressman Hayworth's recent ill-fated attempt to steal fellow Senate candidate Jim Deakin's ballot petition signatures suggests that Hayworth might not even make it on the August ballot," Rogers says.

Sources within the campaign reiterate that McCain will not participate in debates with uncertified candidates, but once his certification is official, McCain welcomes any debate with Hayworth or any other certified candidate..

We sent Hayworth campaign manager David Payne an e-mail asking for his take on the accusations that this was all just another publicity stunt, but he did not immediately get back to us.

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