WHBY Appleton talk radio host Josh Dukelow attempted to arrange an on-air debate between the candidates in the 1st Senate District special election June 12. Dukelow told Media Trackers via email that the effort failed because he couldn’t get Democrat Caleb Frostman’s campaign to commit:
On May 16, I emailed Rep Jacque and Hannah Akbik, Caleb Frostman’s campaign manager, offering dates for a joint appearance ahead of the June 12 Special Election. That same day, Rep Jacque let me know he would hold the dates offered. A week later, having gotten no response from the Frostman campaign, I reached out again on May 23, offering another possible date. Again, that same day, Rep Jacque replied to tell me he would need to move things to make that new date work, but he would do that. Two days later I heard from Ms Akbik, saying they were “unable to move [their] schedule around” to make a joint appearance work. Thus, I had Rep Jacque on solo on Tue, June 5, instead of the joint appearance I had hoped to offer voters.
Jacque told Dukelow on-air Tuesday that he was disappointed the joint appearance didn’t happen:
It would have been great to have a little bit more of a back and forth, direct engagement, than what necessarily is allowed within a forum or debate setting…Yeah, I would have enjoyed the opportunity in this format, on your show, to have a little bit clearer contrast that could be drawn for people.
Media Trackers reached out to Frostman for comment, but received not response. Jacque and Frostman are vying for the senate seat vacated when Frank Lasee left to take a job in the Walker administration. Both men have filed nomination papers for the November election for a four year term in the seat. So regardless of the June 12 outcome, the two men will likely meet in a rematch in the fall. Jacque does face a primary challenge in August from Bill Nauta of Washington Island. Frostman did not have a primary opponent in the special election and won’t for the November election either.
You can hear Jacque’s Tuesday appearance on Dukelow’s show here.
Updated 6/7/2018 10:36 a.m.
The Frostman campaign responded to Media Trackers mid-morning Thursday:
“Given the short timeline of this special election, Caleb is focused on getting out in the community and speaking with voters one-on-one about the issues they care about. Unlike some politicians who would rather sit behind a desk, Caleb understands that the best way to represent northeast Wisconsin is by listening directly to voters and finding ways to solve the problems facing our state.”