It seems that despite promise to engage in debates against his Republican challenger Joel Dystra, Tim Johnson has reversed course and announced that he will NOT participate in ANY debates with his challenger.
In a statement Friday, Johnson said he will dispense with a widely held political tradition in South Dakota as he seeks a third Senate term because he thinks face-to-face debates will not characterize his recovery from a brain injury more than a year ago or his ability to serve another six years in the Senate. Johnson still has impaired mobility, and his articulation and ability to rapidly summon responses are not what they were before.
Johnson has assured South Dakotans on numerous occasions since resuming public life that doctors tell him he will regain his full verbal command.
Here is the link to the story in the local paper:
However, it is apparently that his faculties have not recovered sufficiently for his campaign manger to allow debates. It seems that if the public sees him in such a forum, it will be damaging to the public’s confidence in his ability to do his job.
My Aunt had such an injury and never recovered and eventually succumbed to it. It was hard for our family. I pray for Mr. Johnson and his family in this difficult situation. I am torn on how critical to be on debate participation issue because of the reasons. However, I do feel that he should debate.