We know that the GOP is all over trying to deny suffrage to anyone who might conceivably vote against their candidates, and that they keep getting shut down by the courts. But they're also looking for ways to silence Democratic challengers in certain areas. I don't remember ever seeing this before. Call me crazy, but my recollection is that candidates often want to make their points in speeches and literature, and have the opportunity to "shine" compared to "the other guy" - the idea of giving voters a clear choice and believing that they are "the best guy for the job."
Not this year. Here in Pennsylvania:
U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick and his Democratic challenger, attorney Kathy Boockvar, are facing off in the competitive 8th congressional district. The two have agreed to a series of three debates at which both will be present, but groups sponsoring other candidate "forums" report Fitzpatrick has included restrictions for those events including no press or recording devices and a requirement that Boockvar not be present when Fitzpatrick is speaking or taking questions. Source.
Really Mike? Does that strike any of you as odd? Why in a Congressional election would someone NOT want to be seen with his competitor? OH WAIT....I know....It has to do with telling outright lies and hoping to not get called on them. Fitzpatrick has an ad up tying Bookvar to Mumia Abu-Jamal. The case was a cause célèbre back in 1982 when Mumia was convicted of killing a police officer in Philadelphia. Over the years there have been additional trials, and protests from people who believed that Mumia was framed. But the ad initmates that Bookvar had something to do with defending Mumia. The facts don't add up, starting with the fact that Bookvar graduated college in 1990, meaning she was an adolescent when he went to trial. I'm guessing that anyone seeing a woman Bookvar's age on stage would immediately know she couldn't possibly have had anything to do with the case, since at the time she would have been more concerned with teenage pursuits.
But Mike's not the only one. In NY's CD-22 (a new district) the candidates are Dan Lamb (D) and Richard Hanna (R -incumbent in an old district). The local TV station was going to set up a debate. And then came an email from the station to everyone. That's right - meant to send to the Hanna campaign, but ended up sending it to the Lamb campaign, too.:
Mike, Robert, Theresa and Dan,
I got an angry call from Richard Hanna yesterday saying that Dan Lamb has intentionally baited him in his press release and that he will not agree to meet with us under this type of setup. He went on to tell me that we were being played by Lamb and the results would not be favorable for his continued abiltiy to deal with our news organizations.
He sited [sic] 7 other NY State Congressional races where the candidates have agreed to 3 or less debates. He told me that his team made their choices of his 6 debates in August and that the League of Women Voters in Utica met with him three times in his office in Utica and were told their request was not considered because it came in almost a month after they had made their decisions.
He indicated to me that we would not be considered for his ad dollars and our level of cooperation in the future could be affected. I have councelled with Tim Busch and we are going to have to back out of this taping on Friday and deal with our relationship with Congressman Hanna on our own. I regret making this decision so late for WSYR as we jointly announced this last week. However I do not want to offer Dan Lamb a forum to bash Hanna and call him out for an “Empty Chair”. I have reached out to Richard to tell him of my decision.
Call me this morning at redacted and we can discuss further. I’m sure we can work through this as we make future pans to work on other projects. Thanks for all you have done to welcome WUTR into your family.
More info here and here. Yes, you read it right "make me debate my opponent, and I'll hurt you financially." Yup, yup.
It's all shameful.
You're a candidate? State your views, and show where you compare and contrast with your opponent. Don't hide. Don't threaten.
So it goes....this is what's left of the GOP.