Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Dita Bhargava (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — It’s not easy being on the underticket. So candidates are doing what they can to get some attention.

In the race for state treasurer one candidate is calling on her Democratic primary opponent to debate.

Dita Bhargava of Greenwich wrote a letter to Shawn Wooden of Hartford essentially challenging him to an actual debate.

The two have criss-crossed the state and have been at forums together, but have not formally debated.

“After weeks of trying to get you to engage, I have to say that I’m really puzzled by why you won’t debate me,” Bhargava wrote in a public letter to Wooden.

The two are expected to meet for a candidate forum in Hartford on July 25.

“Let’s be clear: the candidate forum scheduled in Hartford at the end of July is not a debate,” Bhargava said. “We’ve done dozens of these forums to date and so far no one – excluding you – has confused them with a debate.”

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Shawn Wooden (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

Wooden said that “Every day, I talk with voters about how I can put my pension fund investment experience to work for working families. This race is not about me or any other candidate – it’s about the people of this state. That’s why I welcome opportunities to meet and engage with voters and look forward to participating at the Hartfords Votes event on July 25.”

Bhargava didn’t hold back.

“What does it say about your campaign and how you would run the Treasurer’s office when you won’t leave your hometown and have a discussion with actual voters? What are you so afraid of?”

Bhargava, the former vice chairwoman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, is a first time candidate for statewide office. Bhargava, who has 20 years of experience in investment management — one of the primary functions of the treasurer’s office—had been running for governor before State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced she wouldn’t seek re-election.

Wooden, an attorney with Day Pitney who focuses on investment and securities law, is the former Hartford city council president. He also got into the race after Nappier announced.

Wooden received the Democratic Party’s endorsement at the convention in May. He also received the Working Families Party endorsement Tuesday, but didn’t pick up an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, which declined to offer any endorsement in the race after interviewing both candidates.