Hartman, Schodorf denounce debate exclusion proposal by Pompeo campaign

State Sen. Jean Schodorf and fellow congressional candidate Wink Hartman are calling foul on opponent Mike Pompeo, over a letter proposing one-on-one debates between Pompeo and Hartman.

The letter, on Pompeo for Congress stationery and apparently signed by Pompeo campaign manager Rodger Woods, cites a recent KWCH poll of 4th District voters showing Pompeo and Hartman with 39 and 37 percent — with Schodorf, small-business owner Jim Anderson and engineer/rancher Paij Rutschman in single digits.

“In light of the separation between groups of candidates, both in the polls and in other areas such as fundraising and volunteers, I believe voters would be well-served by the opportunity to compare the top two candidates side by side,” the letter said.

The letter goes on to propose a series of four debates between Pompeo and Hartman only.

In a statement, Hartman’s campaign strongly rejected the proposal.

“Mike Pompeo’s plan to anoint himself as the ‘real’ candidate while excluding others is a page straight out of the Washington, D.C. playbook,” Hartman campaign manager Scott Paradise said.

Schodorf called a news conference, where she denounced the proposal as “elitist.”

“The people should decide who represents them in Washington, not good-old-boys making clandestine agreements about which candidates voters see and hear,” Schodorf said.

Woods could not immediately be reached for comment.