Tonight's debate between 4th Congressional District candidates Raj Goyle and Mike Pompeo could become a raucous affair.
Wednesday, Pompeo's campaign sent out an e-mail message to his supporters urging them to "Please come show your support for Mike Pompeo at the first debate of the general election!
"Please wear your Team Pompeo t-shirt and your 'I Like Mike' button... Invite your family and friends and be sure to cheer loudly for Mike!"
On the other side, the Wichita-Hutchinson Labor Federation has scheduled a "Rally for Kansas Jobs" just before and outside the debate venue.
The federation is urging its members to "join your brothers and sisters from organized labor and show your support for our candidate for Congress, Raj Goyle. The first debate between Raj and his outsourcing opponent happens immediately after the rally... Bring your family, friends and signs."
Labor issues have emerged as a clear difference between Goyle, a Democratic state representative from Wichita, and Pompeo, a Republican national committeeman.
Goyle is campaigning against tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs overseas and has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO. He was loudly cheered by aircraft union workers at a Sept. 10 rally in conjunction with Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft contract talks.
Pompeo, former CEO of Thayer Aerospace, has been endorsed by several of the city's prominent aircraft company executives, including Cessna CEO Jack Pelton and Bill Boisture, CEO of Hawker Beechcraft.
Pompeo blamed Washington for recent layoffs and says the best way to protect jobs is to reduce taxes and regulation on businesses.
"The federal government has created massive uncertainty in the economy by passing a health care bill that will cost more for companies to expand and hire employees," Pompeo said in a statement. "We need to change the corporate tax structure and create an economic environment that will encourage companies to grow and spend money on capital and a workforce. Instead, companies and small businesses are worried about the next big form of federal regulation that will increase their operating costs."
The debate is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Wichita State University's Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 5015 E. 29th St. North, Wichita.
The labor rally is scheduled to begin an hour before the debate in the Metroplex parking lot, near the southeast corner of 29th North and Oliver.
1st District debate scheduling hits snag
HUTCHINSON — One of the front-runners in the race to replace Republican Jerry Moran in the U.S. House will be absent from a debate next month.
A live televised forum set for Oct. 4 is slated to be held without Republican state Sen. Tim Huelskamp, of Fowler. That leaves Democrat Alan Jilka, a former Salina mayor, to debate Libertarian candidate Jack Warner in KWCH, Channel 12's Wichita studio.
The 1st District seat they are seeking covers 69 of the state's 105 counties.
Jilka's campaign director, Shawn Colvin, called efforts to schedule a televised debate disappointing.
Huelskamp and Jilka will debate twice — Monday night at Emporia State University and Oct. 21 in Salina. Warner won't be able to participate in Monday's debate.
Logistically, Smoky Hills Public Television in Bunker Hill is not able to broadcast the Emporia forum live, but a department at Kansas State University will tape it. Plans call for Smoky Hills to air the tape Oct. 5 and Oct. 27. KPTS, the Wichita-based public television station, will carry the Emporia forum Oct. 8.
There are no plans to broadcast the Salina debate throughout the district.
Huelskamp campaign manager David Ray pointed out that during the primary campaign, the candidates vying for the GOP nomination — seven at one point — as well as the lone Democrat, Jilka, appeared at debates in Elkhart, Liberal and Hays.