BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Wednesday night, a debate was planned between the candidates vying for the ultra-competitive 22nd Congressional District: Republican David Valadao and Democrat Rudy Salas.

Salas agreed to the debate two months ago, but pulled out in the 11th hour this week, citing a TV ad by Valadao’s campaign.

The ad cites a bipartisan bill Salas voted in favor of in 2018 which put fees on opioid manufacturers.

It is possible companies could pass on the price to customers, but there is nothing in the bill that directly increases the prices of prescription drugs for patients.

Salas called on Valadao to apologize for the misleading ad.

Valadao did not apologize and took to Twitter Monday night to respond to Salas’ decision to drop out writing “if he can’t show up to vote and can’t show up to debate, how are we supposed to believe he’ll show up for the Central Valley in Congress?”

Both candidates have been engaged in a long attack advertisement battle, with both sides stretching the truth.

In races around the country, including in Texas, Arizona, Michigan and Pensylvanina, we’ve seen candidates call out their opponents for refusing to debate or being skeptical about debating.

Below is a statement from Assemblymember Rudy Salas on the Debate:

“Voters deserve the truth and David Valadao has shown that he cannot go a day without airing TV ads blatantly lying about my bipartisan record on holding opioid peddlers accountable. Politics is a tough business. But when Bakersfield high school students are overdosing in school and a supply of Narcan is necessary in middle schools, I can’t in good conscience participate in giving him a bigger platform to lie. He should immediately put an ad on tv apologizing to the families of opioid crisis victims.”

The debate will continue Wednesday night, but instead of a back-and-forth conversation with both candidates, Congressman Valadao will be hosted for 30-minutes.