Rep. Debbie Lesko

Democrat Michael Muscato is challenging Rep. Debbie Lesko, who represents the 8th Congressional District.

A challenger has started a debate—about a debate.

In the Nov. 3 election, Michael Muscato is challenging Rep. Debbie Lesko, the Republican incumbent of the 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of the West Valley, Glendale and Peoria.

Though agreeing to an Arizona PBS-hosted debate with Lesko Oct. 5, Muscato complained that it will be 30 minutes rather than an hour.

“It was disappointing to learn that Debbie Lesko would only agree to a debate in a shortened setting,” Muscato said. “This is an election between an incumbent and her challenger, whose family she has represented in Arizona for 12 years. It is an election between a partisan hack and a father whose children are now having to do virtual classes. It is an election between a career politician and a husband.”

Muscato said he is a small-business owner who “lost (my) career to the pandemic.”

He called Lesko “a political puppet.”

“She should show the voters of this district the respect we all deserve and commit to the full hour-long debate,” Muscato said. “She should have to answer questions and provide answers without a rush for time.”

Lesko’s response: 

“I look forward to debating my Democrat opponent for an hour on Oct. 5. I honestly had no idea how much time was set aside for the debate until this afternoon. I’m perfectly fine with debating for an hour, and my staff already conveyed that to AZ PBS.”

Lesko and Muscato both live in Peoria.