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Though he’d agreed to appear at an Oct. 26 candidate’s forum, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., had no idea it was being promoted as a debate between himself and his Republican challenger Lenny McAllister—because, frankly, he doesn’t consider his opponent much of a challenge, let alone one deserving a debate.

“I only did this because B-PEP (the Black Political Empowerment Project) asked me. Then I see this flier calling it The Great Debate,” he told the New Pittsburgh Courier editorial board recently. “This is not a competitive race and not one I’m spending any money on.”

In his first two elections, 1994 and 1996, Doyle faced down Republican challengers who both garnered more than 40 percent of the vote, neither of his next two challengers managed to reach 33 percent. Prior to the 2002 election, his district was redrawn to include much more of the city of Pittsburgh, and since then he has faced one Republican—she did not even reach 30 percent.

“If a Republican running in this district got more than 20 percent, I’d be surprised,” he said.

And though he continued to say it isn’t a race, Doyle addressed one of McAllister’s main criticisms—that he has a “thin” record.

That, said Doyle, exemplifies how little McAllister knows about the legislative process.

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