Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 15, 2013

Burke ignores challenge

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — Mike Keown has challenged Dr. Dean Burke to a series of debates in the state Senate District 11 race.

"This is a campaign for the people, and I am committed to making myself available to the voters of District 11. I hope Dr. Burke will join me," Keown said in a Monday morning campaign release.

Burke and Keown emerged from a field of six candidates in a Jan. 8 special election to fill the seat vacated by John Bulloch. They finished with 42.59 and 37.37 percent of the vote, respectively, setting up a Feb. 5 runoff.

Last week, the Burke campaign didn’t respond to Thomas County Republican Party requests to participate in a debate slated for Thursday. Times-Enterprise managing editor Mark Lastinger accepted the party’s invitation to serve as the moderator.

According to a party official, however, Burke balked at participating in an event that featured questions from Lastinger or any other member of the Times-Enterprise Editorial Board. The board endorsed Keown prior to the Jan. 8 election.

See Wednesday's edition for more details.