In the video posted on YouTube, Emken's campaign challenged Feinstein to a virtual debate. Using special effects, the GOP Senate candidate appears to be asking Feinstein questions, but the Senator never responds. Emken says she's hoping it will lead to a real debate between the two, "If you want to see a real debate, call Dianne Feinstein today."
Feinstein has repeatedly declined to sit down with Emken and during the Democratic Convention the Senator walked away from an interview with ABC7 political reporter Mark Matthews. When he asked if it would be better for the voters to hear both sides, Feinstein said, "Thank you very much," and walked away.
During the Republican Convention, Emken said, "The L.A. Times says nothing says entrenched incumbent like a 41 year politician who won't debate with their challenger."
Emken appears to have adopted a similar tactic used by East Bay Congressman Pete Stark's opponent, Eric Swalwell. When Stark refused to sit down with him, Swalwell participated in a mock debate with a man pretending to be Stark.
Feinstein has a big lead over Emken in the polls and that may be one reason. Another may be the money. A federal election commission report show Emken has $310,000 of campaign debt through the end of September, while Feinstein has $3.3 million on hand and has spent $2.8 million.
Feinstein's re-election campaign says she will not participate in a debate with someone who has a campaign debt. Feinstein's people say Emkin is not running a real campaign and she is not considered a serious candidate.