The Associated Press reported Wednesday that some groups, namely the League of Women Voters, are having a tough time coordinating an event between the two.
Here’s PoliticsPA’s guess at why there hasn’t been more urgent movement toward a debate: neither candidate really wants one. Both are more comfortable conducting their campaign via television ads.
Typically, a challenger like Smith with low name ID would be beating down the door to get on stage and in front of television cameras with Casey.
Why hasn’t he? Because he’s not a great speaker. The down side to Smith’s farm boy, regular guy approach is that, when confronted aggressively, he’s prone to gaffes – like a quarterback with a poor rating against the blitz. He’s gotten better on the stump, but a face-to-face showdown with Casey is a whole other matter.
In fact, his appearances at the two dozen debates during the GOP primary mostly just allowed opponents to put together damaging web videos. Smith cruised to a 20 point win in the primary because of his effective presence on TV, not his skill on the stage.
On the flip side, most candidates with an inarticulate opponent would relish the idea of a debate. But not Casey. Why not? Because he’s got a clinical dearth of charisma. His style and campaign are boring – deliberately. He’s not a bomb thrower or a fight-picker like Rick Santorum, the man he beat in 2006.
Should Smith bring his A-game and make a convincing, emotional case during a debate, Casey could come off as a boring bureaucrat. Why risk that if you’ve got a lead in the polls?
Hopefully for everyone’s sake a debate will be added to the books before election day. But don’t expect either campaign to hype a bunch of watch parties for it.