Flinn encouraging debate with Cohen for 9th Congressional District seat

Flinn wants debate with Cohen

(WMC-TV) - There's nothing subtle about Dr. George Flinn's campaign for the 9th district congressional seat.

On a massive billboard on Union Avenue, Flinn wants to know why incumbent US Congressman Steve Cohen won't debate.

Both candidates agree on one thing though, the public has a right to know.

You can't accuse Dr. George Flinn of being subtle, about his desire to debate incumbent U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen.

"I think the voters need to hear what we plan to do, how we plan to do it," Flinn said.

Cohen says he's willing to debate if Flinn releases his tax returns.

"All over the country people are being asked to and are releasing their income taxes this is the only place I really know of a candidate who's hiding." Cohen said.

"Who is he to set the conditions of a debate," Flinn responded.

Flinn says he has submitted all the financial records required by a candidate.

"Congressman Cohen is exhibiting a pattern of dodging debates and I think that's disrespectful to the voters," Flinn said.

"I debated Nicki Tinker, I debated Jake Ford, I debated Mark White, I debated Harold Ford Junior," Cohn said.

And then there's the billboard.

"I wish I was wealthy enough to own my own billboard," Cohen said. "He's not disclosed on his finances if he pays for that billboard this could be an illegal corporate contribution."

Flinn said the ad was paid for with campaign contributions.

Cohen and Flinn may never engage in an official debate but they could come face to face on Thursday. Both have been invited to a public forum at this East Memphis retirement community.

Flinn plans to be there.

"Maybe that will be as close as we can get to a debate," he said.

As for the congressman? "You'll have to come to find out," Cohen said.

The forum at the Kirby Pines Estates is set for 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon.

The Flinn camp has heard Cohen has agreed to be there, but they say he has said yes to other events in the past and sent a representative instead.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.