U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo's office was served with a challenge from his opponent Thursday. Palazzo is denying opponent, and newly announced Republican, Gene Taylor, the chance to answer his questions. Taylor says, "Well we've officially challenged Congressman Steven Palazzo to a debate." Taylor walked into Palazzo's Gulfport office Thursday morning to formally offer the representative the chance to present their plans and beliefs. Palazzo says he is not interested in debating with the man he defeated four years ago.
Palazzo says, "I think it's a gimmick. I think it's a sign of a desperate campaign." Palazzo was with the Secretary of Homeland Security when he learned of Taylor's challenge. Palazzo also says, "I'm not going to make a mockery of the Republican primary process just to entertain him and his Democrat friends." Taylor says Palazzo has explaining to do after voting against returning the help that was once given to the Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Taylor also says, “How he would turn around when something bad happened to the people of New England and vote against Sandy relief. Just unforgivable.”
Palazzo's camp says that Taylor's track record is questionable, and has been sending out flyers to illuminate his democratic past. Hunter Lipscomb, the Campaign Manager for Palazzo, says, “We're reminding people that he's not who he says he is, and we're questioning whether or not he can be trusted as a Republican.” Taylor, on the other hand, feels the publications are proof of Palazzo's untrustworthiness. Taylor says, “The only hat I own is a welding hat. The only cape I own is a welding cape, and the rest is photo-shopped. So if he would lie about this, what won’t he lie about?” Taylor offered to debate Palazzo "anytime, anywhere," but Palazzo has made it clear that their one debate in 2010 is all he will get.
Palazzo closes, “You got to remember, he's not just a bad Democrat, he's likely a bad Republican as well.” Taylor switched parties, and is challenging Palazzo in the June 3rd Republican primary for the 4th District Seat.