Decision 2013 is beginning to heat up. The top two candidates for Houston mayor will meet for a "discussion" ion Saturday night. Meantime, there's a "debate" about whether it should be called a "debate."
Is it a debate, a forum or does it even matter? While the mayoral candidates bicker about the format, voters will see them on the same stage.
The battle of words between the campaigns of candidate Ben Hall and Mayor Annise Parker began when the mayor personally Tweeted this message, "Looking forward to the first of many campaign debates this weekend, as well as more forums like last night. Plenty of chances to see us."
The mayor was referring to the Baptist Ministers Association of Houston, which has invited the candidates to what they are calling an important information sharing political forum. The invitation does not call the event a debate.
"This will be the first time where we're all on the same stage together answering the same questions. City issues really don't change very much," she said.
But Hall has challenged the mayor to six televised debates. They say the Saturday's forum doesn't count. So after seeing Parker's tweet, the Hall campaign fired back with this: "@anniseparker Phony post Ms. Parker. No "debates" this weekend. There are forums, but no debates. @Benhallforall and Houston still waiting."
"It's certainly not a debate in our eyes and I don't think in the eyes of the association," said Julia Smekalina, Ben Hall campaign spokesperson.
The debate disagreement isn't the first time this campaign has turned negative. Both Hall and Parker are currently running TV political ads, as each tries to define their opponent in a negative light.
Saturday's event is open to the public. Between now and Election Day in November there will be plenty of opportunities for the voters to see the candidates.