Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox invites Gov. Kay Ivey to debate, Ivey remains noncommittal

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, the Democratic candidate for governor, issued an invitation Tuesday to Gov. Kay Ivey for a series of debates and town hall meetings.

Ivey, who didn’t debate her three Republican challengers in the primary, issued a response from her campaign Tuesday, that didn’t address the actual invitation.

“Walt Maddox refuses to say if he supports Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme court, it’s impossible to get a straight answer from him on gun rights, and he’s all over the map on abortion. It seems the person Walt Maddox should be debating is himself.”

The governor was also asked Friday by WIAT in Birmingham if she was open to debate and she offered a halting reply. She said there was time to discuss debating at a later date.

“We’re going to do what’s pressing most right now,” Ivey said. “Creating jobs and dealing with the air show, putting folks back to work.”

Maddox’s proposal includes two debates focused on different topics, with the first debate on education and economic development; the second debate would be on public safety, health care and infrastructure.

Maddox also proposed two town hall meetings, one in a “major Alabama city” and one in a “rural Alabama county.”

“We certainly want to debate the governor, and we would like it within the format we’ve recommended,” Maddox said during a press conference in Birmingham Tuesday. “We respect the governor and her staff and we want to sit down with them and hammer that out.”

Maddox said Ivey’s apparent strategy of avoiding debates, won’t work, adding the people of Alabama are “smarter” Ivey’s campaign advisers think.

“They’re going to, at some point, realize, that she is hiding from the people and when you hide from the people, when you hide from the people that pay your salary, they realize that you have no plans to be accountable and transparent in the future.”

Maddox said he’s hopeful Ivey will accept the debate invitation.

“I believe that Gov. Ivey in her heart of hearts, would love an opportunity to debate. I just hope that the people behind her, the people around her give her the opportunity to do so.,” Maddox said.