Lauretti has ‘no reaction’ to Gioiello’s debate challenge

Mayor Mark Lauretti is not directly saying whether he is willing to debate Democratic mayoral candidate David Gioiello after Gioiello issued a challenge to do so through the press.

“He’s never called me to ask for a debate,” Lauretti, a Republican seeking his 12th term this November, said Wednesday.

Gioiello made the challenge Monday during a press conference in front of City Hall, when responding to a media question on whether there would be any debates during the campaign.

When asked about Gioiello’s challenge, Lauretti said, “I have no reaction. This is not how you do it.”

He declined to elaborate on how he would respond if he should receive a more formal debate request from Gioiello, such as in the form of a phone call, email message or letter.

“I’m not advising him in any shape or form,” Lauretti said of his opponent’s campaign strategy.

On Monday, Gioiello confirmed he had never made a formal debate request with the longtime GOP mayor or local Republican Party officials. But when asked about the subject while standing in front of City Hall, Gioiello said, “I’ll debate him right here.”

Gioiello ran against Lauretti six years ago and lost. He also is chairman of the Shelton Democratic Town Committee.