Mumpower to Shuler: Quit hiding from me

While Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler persistently pestered former eight-term Congressman Charles Taylor to debate him two years ago to no avail (two planned debates between the candidates fell through over details), his opponent this time around, Republican Carl Mumpower, claims the freshman incumbent has conveniently lost his desire to go mano a mano in public.

Calling Shuler out: Congressional challenger Carl Mumpower wants to debate incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler in all of the 15 counties that make up District 11. Shuler, meanwhile, has been mum about the proposal. File Photo by Jonathan Welch

Mumpower, who earlier suggested the two take part in debates in all of the 15 counties that make up the 11th Congressional District—or else take part in a “vacation debate” this month while Shuler is in recess from Congress—says his opponent has not only resisted those challenges but also every single request from a handful of organizations that have requested that the two appear together.

Asked whether anything has changed since Mumpower and others began calling for debates, Shuler campaign spokesman Andrew Whalen told Xpress, “There’s nothing new on that front, and I doubt there will be.” In a follow-up phone message later in the day on Aug. 18, however, Whalen seemed to indicate debates weren’t totally out of the question, but he remained vague.

“No decisions have been made yet on any debates,” Whalen said in the follow-up. “We’re still looking at the schedule. There’s a lot of invitations that have come in. But no decision has been made as of this point. We’re still discussing it within the campaign.”

One reason Shuler may be hesitant to debate is the fact that some Washington political handicappers now say Shuler is all but assured of re-election. “But I think he’s just dodging,” says Mumpower, who adds that at this point in the campaign there is no proof, polling or otherwise, that indicates Shuler is a shoo-in, despite holding a whopping money advantage and incumbent name recognition.

“Political animals are woefully adverse to debating; leaders are willing to step forward,” Mumpower says. “I think it’s very hypocritical for this gentleman, who in the last election spoke so enthusiastically for the importance of debates, to dodge them in this election. … I think it’s obvious he’s afraid to debate.”

Noting Shuler’s money and other advantages, Mumpower says, “I’ve said from day one I am not going to buy a seat in Congress. I’m going to run hard on the issues and getting in front of people. So debating is important [to my campaign]. But I’m going to debate Heath Shuler whether he participates or not.”

Debate or no—and money or no—Mumpower says he continues to run a vigorous grassroots campaign online and face-to-face, traversing the district on a consistent basis. Rumors of his political death in the race are greatly exaggerated, he says.

“When I suspended my campaign for four days, people jumped all over that,” he says, noting his decision to use the tactic to garner pledges from a majority of the district’s various county Republican parties to uphold a set of traditional Republican values he believes have been warped and sullied during the Bush Administration. “[People] said, ‘Game over,’ which is a bunch on nonsense,” he says. “We went from no counties to 11 counties and were back on line in four days. Those who have faith in our political experts can listen to them. I’m on my mission; I’ll let them speculate and guess as they wish. I would not be running hard if I didn’t think I had a chance of winning.”


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

42 thoughts on “Mumpower to Shuler: Quit hiding from me

  1. Those that watched Don Yelton’s “Citizens Speak” show on URTV last night know that we’re offering a free venue for the Shuler/Mumpower debate.

  2. This sounds crazy: “But I’m going to debate Heath Shuler whether he participates or not.”

    I’d love to see some debates, don’t get me wrong. The more the better, but Mumpower’s in no position to demand them. By running such a lackadaisical campaign with no real fundraising and largely against his own party, Mumpower has demonstrated a lack of viability. I don’t who’s done polling and who hasn’t, but the folks who pay attention to this sort of thing have moved the race from “Likely Democrat” to “Safe Democrat”.

    Heath had better be ready for a boatload of theater around this subject, however. Hot Carl sure knows how to grab headlines. It’s a shame he’s not better at building support.

  3. LOKEL

    Carl plans to “debate” Shuler whether he shows up or not!

    Sounds like a plan.

    Wouldn’t he be talking to himself …. which I feel certain the good doctor probably does most of the time.

  4. R Bernier

    I have contacted Mr.Shuler’s staff & offered them a “live” kitchen table debate with both men sitting alone at a table & recive questions from the citizens over the phone.

    Both men can sit & ask each other any questions they may have.

    URTV can provide 90mins of citizens questions to the viewers of Charter cable in Buncombe & Madison County.

    I see no need for a media person to be involved other than someone to introduce the debate along with thanking both men.

    URTV with a mixture of members can produced a good debate venue for the citizens of WNC.

    Shuler – Debate & Debate Now…..

    Richard Bernier

  5. Jimbo

    Isn’t is a bit delusional of Carl and our local public access television hobbyists to think they are in any position to dictate, or have any involvement in a legitimate congressional candidate debate? Just because someone thinks very highly of themselves, it doesn’t equate to reality. Shuler would be a fool to even entertain such interaction with either party because they have absolutely no credibility or legitimacy, and as such he would do nothing but damage his own credibility.

    If you want to be taken seriously, you have to actually accomplish something and demonstrate competance. Temper tantrums, bravado and delusions of grandeur hardly demonstrate this. Considering yourself a truly impressive individual means nothing to the rest of the world no matter how big your own head gets.

  6. Isn’t is a bit delusional of Carl and our local public access television hobbyists to think they are in any position to dictate, or have any involvement in a legitimate congressional candidate debate?

    No, it’s not.

    Our producers have already done lots of significant political shows, covering local and regional races in far more depth than the so-called mass media. By default, if nothing else, URTV is the perfect venue for a debate between Shuler and Mumpower.

    I, too, call for this debate and volunteer my time as a producer.

  7. Jimbo

    I don’t disparage any of the programs made by local public access users, regardless of whether I find the the content or production quality agreeable or not. Many if not all of those programs are simply editorial and/or opinion based as would be expected of a community public access channel. However, I don’t think it’s realistic or productive to presume Asheville’s local public access cable channel is the preeminent venue for a legitimate congressional debate, let alone that there are currently two legitimate candidates with which to conduct one.

    Everyone has great potential inside them if they are willing to develop that potential to some actual accomplishment, but the tendency of many vocal people in this community to assume entitlement of greatness or even professional competence when they have little or no actual accomplishment, experience or demonstrable skill is a real disservice to every issue they attach themselves to and the community as a whole. Making such loud bold claims of entitlement and presumption just further erodes the credibility of so many initiatives in our community and makes us sound like an angry toddler having a temper tantrum. If a person or group can demonstrate competence, professionalism, and legitimacy, then they’ll be taken seriously. It doesn’t work in the reverse no matter how vocal a person gets.

  8. Jimbo, I didn’t say we were the preeminent venue, I said we’re it by default, meaning because none of the other media seems interested.

    We’re offering a service to the community that the commercially-oriented media, for whatever reason (probably economic) does not seem to want to provide.

    The personalities involved are immaterial, the chance to hear Shuler and Mumpower together a right of the community.

    Just say ‘thanks’ that someone is willing to give this air time in helping us better decide who should be our representative in Congress.

  9. R Bernier

    Jimbo –

    I assume you are for “free speach” so with that in mind I will go on.

    Media today can spin a story which we see everyday on the national networks.

    Tell me, what is wrong with the following debate format:

    Title: Kitchen style debate
    Two candidates sitting at table ALONE
    Both candidates talking as if they were
    in your kitchen thus asking each other
    Then have random callers from the citizens
    asking both men questions.

    Now Jimbo – please share with us your problem with this format?

    Lets stay on topic & address this – dont spin your answer to the degree of why Shuler should not debate Mumpower – just answer that question.



  10. Jimbo

    Great theoretical format for a debate; also irrelevant.

    The issue is the arrogant presumption that a public access channel enthusiast is somehow in a position to dictate, direct, or otherwise involve themselves in a congressional debate. That’s almost as arrogant and delusional as Mumpower whining about Shuler hiding from him, as if he’s someone to contend with. The man is irrelevant and is taken less seriously every day.

    If there is any kind of debate, it will be at Shuler’s option, on his terms, and conducted under the auspices of an organization equipped to facilitate such an event. If this should happen, anyone is entitled to show up with their camcorder and tape it for televising on their local public access channel if they wish. Get over yourselves just once.

  11. Jimbo, you are REALLY wrong … visit URTV and ask for a tour. We have a state-of-the-art studio with all the equipment to put on this debate and the trained producers to do it in a professional manner.

    But you continue to miss the point, no other “organization equipped to facilitate such an event” want to, we do — as a service to the community.

    Besides, just which local organizations do you think has the equipment, the channel, and the know-how to televise this debate? The only other I can think of is WLOS and they do not seem interested.

    So URTV is it. As I said, by default.

  12. R Bernier


    “If there is any kind of debate, it will be at Shuler’s option”.
    Now that is really sad however it proves that you are not for the right of the people to watch a debate.

    You failed to make your point & did not answer my question other than to spin reasons why not to debate.

    WLOS or URTV is the only place that can make this happen however if we play with the rules you have stated then it would make any production come up short of being a venue for the citizens of WNC.


  13. Al Cottingham

    Shuler will not meet Dr Mumpower for debate because Shuler knows he will end up looking stupid. Shuler isso poorly spoken a 5th grader could out-debate him. Dr Mumpower has character, guts, and a fine intellect. No wonder Shuler is afraid to gface him. And no wonder Shuler will be a one term congressman then go back to East Tennessee to lick his wounds. And Dr Mumpower will begin a long career in congress representing the good people of WNC. Go Carl Go!

  14. Don Yelton

    I love these debates and especially when someone defends an elected official from facing a challenge from an opponent. Now that is really funny when Shuler chased Taylor all over the place and then exited the studio at WWNC when Taylor was in another studio.

    Oh Taylor did not follow the rules laid down by Matt and the handlers. Sounds like a good man for a running away offense but a poor defensive move.

    Did that give Taylor an advantage by not being in the studio? Frankly as a candidate myself I will debate any opponent at the table or what ever.

    That is our problem we do not have good old fashion debates. The major media will not even ask the hard questions when they have a debate. They will tell you that they want guests to come on their show.

    Is it not a shame that we have “professionals” that is so called professionals that will not ask the hard questions because they do not want to offend the guest.

    Sounds like get along to go along. Lets hear it for debates and I love to identify those that try to twist the outcome of the debate before it occurs. hint hint. that is on this post too.

  15. R Bernier


    Here is a post that I found today – maybe you need to revisit your thoughts.

    Nov 2006:
    Scrutiny Hooligans salute the candidates for giving the public the opportunity to hear their candidates debate.

    Charles Taylor could have attended the seven debates that he skipped and given us much more clarity as to his explanations for Abramoff, Ivanovo, CAFTA, national debt, Iraq War. But we’ll take what we can get from serial debate dodger Charles Taylor.

    Heath Shuler has demonstrated his boldness throughout this campaign.

    Gordon Smith wrote this: http://scrutinyhool igans.blogspot. com/search? q=taylor+ debate

    Ok, its been two years – what has happen to Shuler?

    If he is your man, then you need to remind him how hard it was to debate Taylor.

    Shuler is two face if he fails not to debate Mumpower more than twice – just dont wait to do this a few days before the election.

    Everyone knows that Mumpower will ring his clock harder than any linemen in the NFL.


  16. Trey

    Maybe Mumpower could debate the Magnolia Tree…. that would make for some blistering local UrpTV programming.

  17. UNaffiliated Voter

    Shuler KNOWS he cannot hold up to Dr. Mumpower’s intellect and understanding of the Constitution.

    Frankly, it appears that he is just dang SCARED to be in this situation…kinda funny for a big ole football player, dontcha think? Come on Shuler, show us some brawny intellect!

  18. nuvue

    I think a debate would be good for the people. Thanks URTV for offering…
    If Shuler is poorly spoken, then let the folks find that out, If Mums is arrogant, well lets see that also.
    It is not a campaign until they get their words and ideas out for people to decide for themselves.
    (it is also the right of the people to watch it or not, you can certainly change the channel)

  19. Maybe Mumpower could debate the Magnolia Tree…. that would make for some blistering local UrpTV programming.

    You don’t really understand yet, Trey… If Mumpower or anyone else wants to debate the magnolia tree, we will cover it AND make it INTERESTING and INFORMATIVE.

    That’s what the producers of URTV do and we do it at no cost to you and in far more detail than the mass media.

  20. Don Yelton

    Frankly folks I always say come on down and sit in a chair…I sign my e-mails by name and take phone call from anyone with restricting them unless they show their intelligence with foul language.

    I have offered the Citizens Speak show to any and all candidates but they seem to shy away from an open phone and mike. That tells me a lot and should tell others a lot too.

  21. “Citizens Speak” with Don Yelton … LIVE Tuesdays 7:30 – 9:30 … URTV, cable channel 20, Asheville North Carolina.

    from Asheville’s fastest growing entertainment and information channel!

    (never hurts to throw a tag in occasionally, eh?)

  22. Ken Hanke

    Just from curiosity’s sake, what is the viewership of URTV? Do you have some numbers on how many folks are tuning in and for what? Is it available to people with Direct TV or the Dish Network?

  23. SunShine

    Wait a minute are we talking about the man who tried to interrupt our police while they were doing their job to send them off on some wild goose chase to catch some drug dealers he saw down the street. As I remember it Carl put our Police in harms way by insisting to them to do their job while they were doing just that. How many Felonies did these suspects already have on their records? What would have happened if one of our Police officers or a innocent bystander was injured while Carl was trying to tell them how to do their job?

    Are we talking about the same man with the childish mentality who walks our of a city council meeting when he is not getting what he wants or is hearing what he wants to hear. Do we really want to take credit for him coming from this area? He certainly does seem like the type of individual that I would want to represent WNC. He could really help us stand out as the freak capitol of the united states by throwing one of his childish tantrums in Washington.

    This is the man who how many times voted no to something just to be the only one to vote that way?

    Sorry but Heath shouldn’t have to lower himself to this man”s lower since if integrity and ethics just to let him try and grandstand as he has done over and over again in our city.

  24. We do not know yet, Ken … however, judging by all the kind folks who recognize me now, I’d say it truly is considerable.

    We have a lot of talented producers who just keep getting better and better.

    Right now, we’re only on cable in Buncombe and Madison and (I think) part of Transylvania County, but soon URTV will be broadcasting live on the Internet, which will increase our viewership dramatically.

    As a board member of URTV, I invite everyone to check out and http:/ for more details, visit the station in Asheville, and (above all else) watch us.

    thanks for asking.

  25. SunShine, it does not matter if Shuler is running against a ripe banana, he owes it to US, the people, to stand up and discuss the issues WE are concerned with. We’re the one paying his salary and all those many perks Congresspeople get. A lot of us don’t think we’re getting our money’s worth.

  26. SunShine

    Sorry but Heath shouldn’t have to lower himself to this man”s lower since if integrity and ethics just to let him try and grandstand as he has done over and over again in our city.

  27. Native

    Mumpower is irrelevant. Once he proves he’s a real threat (which he has not) then I’m sure the debates will come. Mumpower is on Asheville City council, he’s got NO bankroll and no track record for anything other than ridiculous granstanding for a little press in the ACT…pathetic.

  28. Don Yelton

    I love idealistic people that keep on saying it is necessary to have money to win a political race. Is that saying that a lot of people are walking around with a wad of money in their pocket looking for a whore to buy…well that don’t say much for those candidates with the money or the party that spend a lot of money on advertising. Me thinks some of you do protest too much to say you care about philosophy. Looks like you be for sale.

  29. Asheville Native

    That’s not idealism, that’s reality. The rest of your comment is nonsensical and therefore invalid.

  30. confused


    Irrelavent, because? Because you say so?

    Shoe on the other foot…how relevant was a has-been quarterback running against an 8-term senior Congressman with a lot of influence.

    My guess is that you would say Mr. Shuler was very relevant even though he had zip for experience.

    It is easy to declare someone whom you do not agree with, and who belongs to the opposite party, as irrelevant.

    It is worth repeating, “it does not matter if Shuler is running against a ripe banana, he owes it to US, the people, to stand up and discuss the issues WE are concerned with”. PERIOD.

    especially since he is going to play the part of the ducking hypocrit!!

  31. Al Cottingham

    Mumpower is very relevant. Shuler is a cowering yesman for Nancy Pelosi. She has told him to hide from Mumpower to hold onto the congressional seat here. Besides, Shuler is so poorly spoken a fifth grader could make him look like the dolt he is in a debate.

  32. Asheville Native

    Nah, I’m no Shuler apologist or stump supporter. Doesn’t really matter what was, all that matters is the present. Presently Shuler occupies the seat and Mumpower has not shown himself as a worthy opponent. He will debate SOMEONE, but I bet it’s not Mumpower. This is politics folks, you don’t debate every Tom, Dick & Harry (or Mumpower)just ’cause they want to.
    Al, you’re privy to conversations between Pelosi and Shuler? What are you doing here?

  33. bobaloo

    Shuler is a cowering yesman for Nancy Pelosi.

    You couldn’t have discredited your opinion more than with that statement. Do you actually know anything about Shuler other than the D next to his name? Like why liberals dislike him so much?

  34. confused

    Asheville Native,

    “Presently Shuler occupies the seat and Mumpower has not shown himself as a worthy opponent. He will debate SOMEONE, but I bet it’s not Mumpower. This is politics folks, you don’t debate every Tom, Dick & Harry (or Mumpower)just ‘cause they want to.”

    WHO will Mr. Shuler debate? Are you actually serious in that you believe the incumbent should not debate his one and ONLY challanger?

    Maybe he should have a debate with a member of his own party! Yeah, that’s it. They could ask really easy questions, but not without letting him know what they are first, so that someone might tell him what to say! That makes a lot of sense. That is who you want to be represented by? A Pelosi puppet?

    You may be a native, but I don’t think it is from this planet!

  35. Asheville Native

    I can see why you’re confused – it’s confounding that Mumpower is the only candidate the Republicrats can produce and he’s so pitiful, he can’t get Shuler’s attention. You’re confused no more!!

  36. Al Cottingham

    Dr Carl Mumpower is an excellent candidate who is his own man. Carl is the polar opposite of Shuler, who kisses the ass of Nancy Pelosi of far far left San Francisco. He calls her before he does anything, to make sure he is being her old good boy. A good boy to Nancy is a communist stooge.

  37. Al Cottingham

    Well the news is out. Shuler has been pressured to debate Carl, finally. In Murphy??? Asheville is the big town in WNC. Why not here? I’ll bet you Shuler’s handlers insisted it be way out in the hinderlands.

  38. Jose

    Maybe all of you snarkey Ashe-villans afflicted with –MDS–(Mumpower Derangement Syndronme) can give it a rest. Carl consistently makes more sense than all of your bed-wetting letters combined. Besides, he got a pair of BIG ‘UNs. He has consistently stuck by his principles even while under constant attacks and ridicule from the ‘tolerant and enlightened’ of Asheville. Plus he’s running for office in the heart of ultra- liberalism–Asheville. Most of you wimps wouldn’t attempt to even ‘live’ in a location that wasn’t ‘liberal enough’ for you. You’d go cryin’ to yo’ Mamas! I’d bet $ that Carl is friends with many more liberals than most of you are friends with conservatives. Am I right or am I right?
    Point being? He knows a lot more than you do!
    Point no. 2–vote for Dr. Mumpower.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.