Tito “The builder” Muñoz issued a challenge to his opponent Jeff Frederick on Thursday — do a debate solely in Spanish.
“This is a great opportunity for the voters … particularly the Hispanic population,” he said. “Since we have two Hispanic candidates for the Republican nomination, what better opportunity is there to reach out to our growing population? I hope Jeff agrees that our Hispanic brothers and sisters might like to be spoken to in their native language.”
Muñoz and the ousted leader of the Republican Party of Virginia are vying for the 36th district state Senate seat, which spans Prince William, Stafford and Fairfax counties. The two, who will face off during the Aug. 23 Republican primary, are trying to oust Democratic Sen. Linda “Toddy” Puller, who has held the seat since 1999.
Muñoz was born in Colombia and came to the United States in the mid-1970s. He became a citizen in 2008. Although born in Virginia, Frederick is also a Hispanic American. His mother was born in Colombia and later emigrated to the United States.
Officials with Frederick’s campaign said that as of 1 p.m. Thursday, Muñoz had not contacted their office requesting the debate. Frederick does not plan to take any action on the request until he hears directly from Muñoz. Frederick does speak some Spanish but is not fluent, officials with Frederick’s campaign said.
Muñoz, who owns a construction company in Woodbridge and is a conservative Latino voice on local radio, said he will focus on job creation, tax cuts for businesses and energy independence. Muñoz kicked off his campaign in June with former governor and U.S. senator George Allen, who endorsed Muñoz for the seat. Allen is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012.
Frederick, a former state delegate, is expected to kick off his campaign Saturday in Dumfries. Frederick said he wants to get back to Richmond to promote job creation and “common sense” solutions to transportation problems that plague the region.