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Randy Bryce, Van Wanggaard

A candidate forum Thursday featuring state senate hopefuls Van Wanggaard and Randy Bryce was cancelled Wednesday.

Sponsored by the Kenosha-Racine-Walworth Tobacco Free Coalition, the debate was scheduled at the Gateway Technical College SC Johnson iMET Center, 2320 Renaissance Blvd., in Sturtevant.

But, there may be some confusion over who agreed to appear where.

According to Wanggaard’s camp, the Republican from Racine was scheduled for an appearance elsewhere and never agreed to a debate.

“We were just alerted to it two days ago, and Van cannot attend because of a previous commitment,” Wanggaard campaign manager Kyle Koenen told Racine County Eye via email.

He also said the group approached Wanggaard before the primary about a debate and were told to check back after the primary, but a firm date was never established.

“Tuesday was the first time they contacted us since the primary to say they were glad we were attending,” Koenen added.

Bryce – a Democrat from Caledonia – issued a statement saying the forum was has been scheduled for weeks and he’d been ready to debate the issues.

“As a State Senator, I will always be open and accessible to my constituents,” he wrote. “While I am running to give the 21st State Senate District the representation it deserves, it appears my tea-party opponent would rather hide from the public behind the big special-interest money pouring into his campaign war chest.”

Wanggaard was first elected to state office in 2010, unseating state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, and then losing to Lehman in the 2012 recall election. Lehman is not running for re-election in the 21st and is instead running for Lt. Governor.

Bryce ran unsuccessfully for state Assembly against fellow Democrat Melissa Lemke in 2012. Lemke lost the general election to Rep. Tom Weatherston, R-Caledonia.

The general election is Nov. 4.