by David Safier
I've posted about Al Melvin's refusal to add a debate with his challenger Cheryl Cage in the LD-26 Senate race. He said, one Clean Elections debate is enough, he has to spend all his time walking. Then he said in a newsletter he's engaging in numerous debates to educate the public, which, of course, he isn't. Then he put a picture of a debate from a previous election cycle on his website and made it seem as if it was a debate against Cage.
How times change! Melvin has now agreed to a debate at a date to be determined later. It will be hosted by The Explorer, the weekly that covers most of the legislative district, moderated by the paper's editor, Dave Perry.
Full disclosure: I write a column for the Explorer. My sense is that Perry is one of the most even-handed people I've met, and, since he's interviewed both Cage and Melvin — and both have had numerous op eds in the paper — he should have a good idea of some of the topics that deserve coverage. I'm hoping for a well moderated, interesting debate between two candidates who have a lot to debate over.
Cage and Melvin both love animals. I'm sure they must agree about something else, but for the life of me, I can't figure out what it might be.
The Weekly is all over the debate topic. I'm telling you, if you want to know what's really going on in Tucson, go to the Weekly, not the Star — and, of course, check in with El Blog regularly.
Here are some of the highlights from the Weekly:
[Melvin] tweeted about a recent candidate forum in Oro Valley, saying it, “had candidates for many offices, including mine, debating one another.”
But it wasn’t a debate, according to forum organizer Conny Culver, a former Oro Valley council member.
“In a debate the candidates have a chance to go back and forth with each other,” she said. “We were never trying to be a debate.”
When asked about his use of the word at the Oro Valley candidate forum, Melvin said, “I consider this to be in the league of a debate.”
"In the league of a debate"? Al, you're way, way out of your league if you think a forum with a bunch of candidates answering 2 questions without any back-and-forth is a debate.
Cage says Melvin has a pattern of misleading voters and points to his website, where Melvin posted a photo of himself “debating his opponent… on July 9” next to his recent tweets. The caption doesn’t say July 9, 2008, when the debate was held.
“It’s incredibly disingenuous,” she said. “I think he’s trying to make it look like we have had some debates… and to have this kind of constant disingenuous approach from him is disappointing and I think it’s disrespectful to the voters.”