Former Assistant District Attorney Keith Stutes is calling on DA Mike Harson, Stutes’ longtime boss, to a series of debates throughout the 15th Judicial District (Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes).

In a press release issued Tuesday, Stutes says voters in the district deserve to hear and see the candidates face to face and side by side:

The voters of Acadia, Lafayette and Vermilion Parishes deserve a real discussion about how best to keep our communities safe, while upholding the law. I am calling for a minimum of two broadcast debates so that we can fully air the issues that impact the safety and prosperity of our families, businesses and communities. I am also available to any business and civic organization in the 15th JDC to speak, to listen, and to answer questions. I am issuing an open invitation to the DA to join me. The voters face an important choice that will affect the quality of life in our area for the next six years. They deserve the respect and courtesy of candidates who will face them frequently, openly and honestly.

The candidates last week touted polls commissioned by their respective campaigns that — surprise! — show the candidate who commissioned the poll ahead in the race: Harson by 15 in his poll, Stutes by seven points in his poll. It’s worth noting that Harson, who has been in office since the mid 1990s, is preferred by only 37 percent of respondents in his poll — under 50 percent support should concern an established incumbent such as Harson.

The campaigns kept pace in fundraising during the first quarter of 2014. Harson raised $107,000 to Stutes’ $105K, although Harson has the war chest advantage: $345,000 in the bank to Stutes’ $180,000 cash on hand, according to LaPolitics News Service’s Jeremy Alford.

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