By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WILDER - Statehouse candidate Mark Hayden is itching for a fight - or at least a debate.
Hayden, the Wilder Republican running in northern Campbell County's 67th House District, has issued a written debate challenge to Democrat Dennis Keene.
Hayden, a lawyer making his first run for office, and Keene, a Wilder councilman and the operator of a manufactured-home company, are vying for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Jim Callahan, D-Wilder.
In a letter dated June 4 and copied to reporters, Hayden writes to Keene that a debate "is a valuable way for voters to compare our positions on the key issues facing our district and the commonwealth."
"The debate is also a valuable way for voters to compare our qualifications and skills for the office," Hayden said. "I will be very flexible about the date, time, location and forum for the debate."
The election is in November.
Keene would not commit Monday, but said he may be open to a debate later in the year. He had not received the letter Monday afternoon.
"I'll see if I can get it in my schedule. I've got a lot on my schedule right now," Keene said. "We'll address it eventually, it's just a little too early right now."
Keene did not appear eager to debate Hayden, an experienced litigator used to debating legal issues.
"That's how he makes a living, isn't it?" Keene answered when asked if he plans to debate Hayden.
Hayden had high praise for Callahan in his letter to Keene.
"This is an important election because one of us will have the awesome responsibility of replacing a great legislator, public servant and community leader, Jim Callahan," Hayden said.
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