So Anthony Pollina
, independent candidate for governor, has charged that his Republican and Democratic rivals are cutting back on debates. Proof, he said, is that various organizations that proposed gubernatorial debates have subsequently cancelled them because either Gov. Jim Douglas or House Speaker Gaye Symington
declined to participate.
"Debates are a central part of any campaign and the way Vermonters learn about the candidates," complains Pollina
. His staff produced a list of all the debate invitations he'd received. There were more than three dozen, but now five have been cancelled.Dennise
Casey, Douglas campaign manager, said the Republican incumbent is tentatively planning on participating in ten to 15 debates, but hasn't confirmed every date yet.
, spokesman for the Symington
campaign, said she has accepted seven invitations -- all debates that Douglas also agreed to attend. She is open to more, schedules permitting. Carrese
reminds that the Symington
campaign issued the first challenge on debates -- calling for one in every county.
He added, "If he (Pollina
) is implying people are ducking debates, that is certainly not the case."
According to Carrese
, the seven gubernatorial debates featuring Symington
and Douglas, in some cases it seems without Pollina
, will take place as follows:
Sept. 10, NEA
debate in Randolph, broadcast by Vermont Public Television. All three candidates.
Sept. 12: Mark Johnson Show on WDEV
Fair. All three.
Sept. 24, Vermont Public Radio at 6 p.m. at a location to be named in Chittenden
County, all three.
Oct. 1, Several groups including AARP
and Vermont Protection and Advocacy, Brattleboro
, broadcast on VPT
. All three participating.
Oct. 2, Vermont League of Cities and Towns. Douglas and Symington
Oct. 10, Manchester Journal Debate, all three.
Oct. 21, Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. Douglas and Symington
Debates are always touchy issues for underdogs -- especially those without a lot of money to buy exposure in the media. Pollina
argues, "Vermonters deserve to hear directly from candidates rather than through slick television ads and marketing campaigns."
-- Nancy Remsen