|Bush Vs. Gore, Round 2 (kinda)|
The speculation on Val's Facebook page from Bill Carder (a former Republican member of Roanoke City Council; Smith was mayor) is that Smith will decline unless he is perceived "by his handlers" to be behind, in which case he will debate, but ignore questions and stay on a message proscribed for him. If he can remember it.
If Smith is to debate, he'll have to do better than take his intellectual penknife to a bazooka fight. In a straight-up battle of words, he'd have no chance, but then George Bush had no chance against Al Gore until people began to give Bush points for breathing while Gore's score was reduced every time he said anything intelligent, which was with every sentence. Bush crushed him by being stupid because so many voters share that trait with Bush. They want somebody as dumb as they are so they won't feel inferior.
Smith even had the brass to criticize his assumed Democratic opponent in this race because he's smart and the people of Floyd and Franklin Counties, he says, won't like that one little bit.