Over the past few weeks, the campaign rhetoric of Patrick Dowd, vying for incumbent Len Bodack's District 7 seat, has ratcheted up -- so much so that Dowd's camp has taken to calling his opponent "Boduck," to suggest the councilor has dodged invitations to participate in debates.
"He's been ducking every opportunity to interact," says Dowd, a teacher at the Ellis School and a Pittsburgh Public Schools board member. "Does he not feel comfortable with his record?"
Not so, counters Bodack. "I'd put my record up against his. I'll bring my campaign to the people."
Dowd's campaign manager, Abby Wilson, says the campaign has sent three letters to Bodack requesting debates, but "we haven't heard a peep." Wilson adds that Bodack's campaign headquarters -- which is located on the floor above his Butler Street district office -- is inaccessible.
But Monday morning found Bodack in his sweats at his campaign office doing a 10-mile run on the treadmill, watching Country Music Television -- and fielding questions from a reporter.
The councilor says he won't agree to weekly debates, because they would only serve Dowd.
"He wants me to build a crowd for him; I can't let his campaign run my campaign," says Bodack. Plus, "My grandpa taught me: Never argue with a jackass, because then you'll look like one."
"It's to the benefits of the taxpayers that I have debates with him [so that] we can publicly discuss our views," argues Dowd.
Their last face-off was at a candidates' forum at the Union Project on February 28. It is not certain that there will be any more debates. Bodack says time conflicts will preclude him from attending forums scheduled on April 19 in Friendship and Highland Park.
Dowd had slated a debate at Pittsburgh Filmmakers in Oakland for April 11. But because as a nonprofit Filmmakers is barred from hosting partisan activities, Bodack would have to attend in order for the event to take place.