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Some free advice for State Senator Walter Dalton, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor: Don’t dodge debates.

Don’t give your opponents that club to beat you with.

Dalton is saying he won’t participate in debates matching the Democratic candidates. So one opponent, Hampton Dellinger, is riding Dalton hard about it.

Dalton needs to wake up, smell the coffee and get into the ring.

The only way he can lose the debates is to not show up. Nothing (well, almost nothing) can happen in a debate that hurts him as bad as ducking them.

This reminds me of the 1998 Senate race, when Lauch Faircloth wouldn’t even be in a picture with John Edwards, let alone debate with him.

We pounded Lauch about that all campaign long. We made an ad that responded to Lauch’s attack ads by Edwards saying: “If all those things Lauch Faircloth is saying about me were true, don’t you think he’d be willing to say them to my face?”

Pretty good ad.

Actually, our biggest fear was that Lauch would debate. Because of Edwards’ fearsome reputation as a trial lawyer, Lauch would have been hailed as a winner if he had just walked out of the debate on both feet.

Dalton is making the same mistake.

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