JASPER, Indiana – Two challengers for an Indiana congressional seat have agreed to be hooked up to lie detectors during a debate, but an official with the incumbent's party dismisses the idea as "bizarre."
Ninth District Republican Party Chairman Larry Shickles on Wednesday proposed the political polygraphs for Democratic Rep. Baron Hill, Republican challenger Mike Sodrel and Libertarian candidate Eric Schansberg. The three are scheduled to debate Oct. 21, but an official with a debate co-sponsor said lie detectors won't be included.
"Our planning committee worked up the format and rules, and we are not inviting negotiations from the candidates," Alan Johnson, dean of Vincennes University's Jasper Campus, told The Herald of Jasper.
Shickles, in a letter sent Tuesday to 9th District Democratic Chairman Mike Jones, suggested that the candidates be hooked up to lie detecting machines at the Oct. 21 event or a separate debate.
"While this format may be unusual, I feel strongly that voters need to be able to make a clear decision without all the usual spin," Shickles wrote.
Sodrel's campaign said he would agree to the proposal, and Schansberg said he also would agree to wear a lie detector. Hill declined to comment.
Jones said having a lie detector debate "just seems pretty bizarre."
"Polygraphs have their use in law enforcement, but I don't see them fitting in a political debate," Jones said. "There are plenty of avenues for finding out each candidate's true position. The votes of both Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel are on record with Congress."
The race pits Hill and Sodrel against each other for the fourth time. Sodrel unseated Hill in 2004, but Hill won the seat back in 2006.