Monday, October 16, 2006

Sad day when candidates send stand-ins to debates

Why send your spouse, brother, sister to a debate among candidates for political office when you can't attend? Doesn't make sense. By the time the stand-in is finished, attendees may change their minds about the actual candidate, possibly even wondering why the spouse, brother, sister ISN'T THE ONE RUNNING for the office!

State reps won't attend NAACP candidate forum
By Richard Robbins
Monday, October 16, 2006

It turns out that tonight's NAACP candidate forum will not include incumbent state representatives.
They will be in Harrisburg attending a long-planned session of the House, said state Reps. Tom Tangretti and John Pallone.

Tangretti, a Greensburg Democrat, said his office informed NAACP officials several weeks ago that members of the Westmoreland County delegation would be out of town. He said an aide asked if the forum might be postponed to another date. He said his office was told that moving the date would be impossible since Gov. Ed Rendell had agreed to come.

Tangretti said he spoke Saturday with Greensburg-Jeannette NAACP Branch president E. Jeff Holmes about the matter.

"They both had to go vote in Harrisburg. If you have to go vote, you have to go vote," said Holmes Sunday.

The forum is slated for 7 tonight at the Human Services Center, 1011 Old Salem Road, in Greensburg.

"I'd love to be there, but it conflicts with official business," said Pallone, a Democrat from New Kensington. "I can't be in two places at one time."

The forum was billed in the Tribune-Review as "the first and possibly only major gathering of candidates in Westmoreland County" before the Nov. 7 election.

Sending another in the place of the candidate is not the way to go. Best to look like statement-in-a-question, call-marines-murderers-of-the-innocent-without-facts, alienate-your-own-colleagues, self-promoter, spread-around-the-tax dollars-far-and-wide-just-before-the-election, John Murtha, who won't even take an hour or two to show up at a forum to debate with Diane Irey. His absence can be spun by his opponent, giving ABSCAM new meaning. By showing up at least voters won't wish he were replaced by his wife.

Irey wants debate
By Robin Acton
Friday, October 13, 2006

Republican nominee Diana Irey has challenged U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Johnstown, to debate her on issues important to the 12th Congressional District.
"Jack Murtha is scared to debate me," Irey said, calling his refusal "a disservice to voters."

Irey, 44, of Carroll Township, Washington County, held a five-minute news conference in her Johnstown campaign office Thursday during which she attacked the incumbent's record and personal character. Although the focal point of her campaign thus far has been the war in Iraq, she insisted he owes district voters the chance to hear them debate significant issues such as taxes, immigration and Social Security.

But Murtha, 74, who has represented the district since 1974, isn't biting...

Rendell expected at NAACP forum
By Rich Cholodofsky
Saturday, October 14, 2006

With just a little more than three weeks remaining until the Nov. 7 election, the first and possibly only major gathering of candidates in Westmoreland County will occur next week.
Bolstered by a planned appearance by Gov. Ed Rendell, a candidates' forum sponsored by the Greensburg-Jeannette Branch of the NAACP is expected to bring out most of the local candidates running for office next month.

The forum is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Monday at the Human Service Center, 1011 Old Salem Road, in Greensburg.

A similar event scheduled earlier this month that was sponsored by the League of Women Voters was canceled because of a lack of participation by many of the incumbents.

E. Jeff Holmes, political action chairman for the local NAACP, said Rendell's commitment to the event has attracted far greater interest in what was initially expected to be a small gathering.

"We had to move it to a larger room," Holmes said.

Organizers are still hoping Republican gubernatorial nominee Lynn Swann will attend, although they have yet to receive a commitment from his campaign. The Swann campaign on Friday did not respond to a request for comment.

Swann's lack of participation, especially in campaign events targeting African-American voters, has baffled some political observers.

"The Swann case is a little mystifying," said G. Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College. "I'm surprised he's not doing more in the African-American community. Rendell is not doing any more than what is usual for a Democratic candidate."

Most candidates running for state House seats in Westmoreland County have agreed to attend, Holmes said. Only James Casorio, D-Irwin, who is facing a challenge from Republican Joel Reiter, and Republican Pete McConnell, who is trying to unseat Democrat Ted Harhai, D-Monessen, have yet to respond to the NAACP's invitation. Reiter and Harhai are expected to attend.

Holmes said other candidates who have agreed to appear at the forum are: state Rep. Tom Tangretti, D-Greensburg, and his opponent, Republican Steve Schaefer; state Rep. John Pallone, D-New Kensington, and his GOP opponent, Scott Witon.

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