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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Valleywide

Rogan and Schiff Clash Over Debates

May 05, 2000|MICHAEL FINNEGAN

Rep. James Rogan of Glendale and his Democratic challenger, Adam Schiff of Burbank, accused one another Thursday of ducking debates in one of their first clashes since the March primary.

Jason Roe, the GOP incumbent's campaign manager, attacked Schiff for rejecting two debate invitations.

"How can we expect Adam Schiff to stand up to the powerful special interests that have bankrolled his campaign if he doesn't even have the courage to face his election opponent?" Roe asked.

Schiff, a state senator, acknowledged that he turned down invitations from the KIEV-AM radio talk-show "Marino in the Morning" and a cable television program hosted by Glendale's former mayor Larry Zarian, a Republican.

Schiff said he rejected them because Zarian and Larry Marino, the proposed KIEV moderator, are conservatives who were "cherry-picked" by Rogan.

"He would only agree to appear where he's supported by the moderator," Schiff said. "I would rather have a neutral forum for debates."

Schiff said his campaign advisors would try to arrange appearances with Rogan before the League of Women Voters, local homeowner groups and other nonpartisan organizations.

Zarian and Marino each said he would have been an impartial moderator.

Rogan and Schiff are facing off in one of the closest and most expensive congressional races in the country. Schiff beat Rogan in the open primary on March 7, 49% to 47%.

Democratic and Republican leaders in Washington view the race as one of the few that could determine which party controls the House after the November election. The race has also drawn national attention because of Rogan's role as a House prosecutor in the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton.

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