The Northwest Conservatives have cancelled the Candidate Debate featuring the Republican candidates in the Congressional District 2 (CD2) Republican Primary planned for July 8, 2014. The debate was to be held at Desert Sky Middle School located at 9850 E Rankin Loop, Tucson, Arizona, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Northwest Conservatives issued a statement saying that they regretted “that Martha McSally did not accept an invitation to speak to the voters. Shelley Kais will not participate. Her campaign issued a statement claiming “that for any debate to be meaningful, it must include all three primary candidates and occur before early voting begins on July 28 so all voters have the information they need to make an informed choice”. With Chuck Wooten as the only candidate willing to continue, the Northwest Conservatives only option was to cancel the event.
According to sources, Kais set out conditions for her participation including that she be given the questions before the debate.
The Northwest Conservatives note that the “debate date and facility were selected as a convenient time and central location to allow a vast amount of voter access to the candidates at a time when they are off work.”
“It is unfortunate that many CD 2 voters will not have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates before early balloting,” read the group’s statement.
Kais’s decision immediately sparked outrage across CD2.
“I seriously have to question the character of candidates who refuse to debate. If we allow these people to be elected, without the public getting to meet them, and hear their platform, we have failed. It seems that the people have been duped into voting for whoever runs the highest-dollar smear campaign,” said CD2 resident Rob Williams. “Why doesn’t the media take a stand, and call it all out? Why doesn’t the media take the initiative to re-educate the people on how to choose the BEST candidate? if we are denied a debate, how can we choose anyone other than the one that buys the most advertising? We cannot.”
“To date, Martha McSally has not committed to this debate, and recently Shelly Kais has dropped out, leaving Chuck Wooten as the lone “debater.” What does this say about the other two? Are they already so scared about his superior qualifications for the job that they are afraid of appearing to be less electable than he is? A second debate is also scheduled for July 26 at Quail Creek. McSally also has not committed to that one,” said Green Valley resident Ann Corless. “Nothing could be more enlightening about the qualifications of these two candidates than the fact that they refuse to participate in a debate.”
“If you are running for office in America and refused to debate with any candidate your name should not be on the ballot for this election or any election for ten years forth,” said conservative Harry Laughman.
“I am so disappointed that the debate is not going forward. I was really looking forward to the candidates’ views. How can we know anything without hearing from them,” said CD2 resident Carol Moon. “Are the fearing debating Chuck Wooten who is not an establishment GOP candidate? I just can’t believe these people don’t take the voters more seriously.”
“This is another example of why we have little respect for elected (or those attempting to be elected) politicians. Somehow tactics and money trump an honest and open discussion of the issues that concern us all. Our options seem to be those willing to put their opinion on the line and those that want to depend on dollar driven ad campaigns. Given those choices, I prefer those willing to put themselves in front of the people,” said Rod Mansker. “Good luck to Chuck Wooten.”
“The event should go as planned,” said Paul-Gregory Matuszak. “Chuck would be debating two empty chairs, regardless. McSally is not a conservative and acts more like a progressive oligarch than a Republican. Jesse Kelly would be the incumbent instead of Barber had she supported him instead of telling Republicans to stay home or to vote for Barber in the special election. Kais refusing to debate Chuck demonstrates she is afraid of him as well. It is a shame that these two candidates who desire to represent the people of Cochise County won’t let the citizens of Cochise County get a full comparison in order to make an informed decision.”
“A candidate for any office; federal, state and/or local who refuses to engage in debates, both primary and general, isn’t worthy of voter consideration,” said Mark Finchem a candidate for the State Legislature in LD11. “It is the lack if meaningful, open, public debate that has gotten our nation where it is at today. How can voters become truly informed? A post card? A political radio spot? When voters are denied the opportunity to see and hear “in the moment” responses to questioning on the issues, we are all cheated of transparency and the opportunity to give informed consent to be governed.”
“This is textbook McSally, she is so arrogant that she believes we lowly Republican voters are not worth her time. If she is trying to earn our vote and acts this way, how will she respond to our concerns if she wins? In my opinion, after serving on two 354FS deployments and flying numerous times with her, the only things that matter to her are the size of her campaign coffers and feeding her ego,” said legendary A-10 Tom Norris.
“The Pima County RNC should be ashamed of themselves, acting like a union with a single candidate – McSally – instead of embracing our democratic process,” continued Norris. “In my opinion, the Pima County RNC doesn’t want McSally to talk in public any more than she has to, they are afraid she will put her foot in her mouth. Have we all forgotten her statement “I would kick him in the Jimmy” on national television? How about the statement, that in my opinion, finally killed her USAF career? As told to me by a retired vice wing commander at DM,” in front of a group of local dignitaries, at her Colonel pin on ceremony at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama, “I would like to thank all the toothless Alabamans who attended my ceremony.” These are classic McSally statements; crude, inappropriate, and not indicative of any candidate I would vote for.”
“Chuck Wooten is the only candidate who wants a chance to earn our vote at the debate? Not surprising given his outstanding character and honorable nature,” concluded Norris. “I hope all AZ voters take note of this event and recognize the unbelievably cowardice behavior from the other CD2 candidates.”
The CD2 race has been especially ugly with McSally’s camp trying early on to knock Wooten off the ballot by challenging his signatures. That effort was unsuccessful.
Across the country, the “establishment GOP” has worked against candidates popular with the grassroots. McSally was hand-picked by Senators John McCain and Jon Kyle to run for CD2. Last month, Eric Cantor, who lost to a grassroots candidate came to Phoenix to raise money for McSally. It has been widely rumored in the GOP that Kais is running to siphon votes away from McSally’s grassroots challengers.
“I cannot be more disappointed in the behavior of Martha McSally and Shelley Kais regarding the events that led to the cancellation of this critical debate event,” said Chuck Wooten. “At the very foundation of the American election process is open and public debate of the issues. By Ms. McSally’s refusal to attend and Ms. Kais’ withdraw, the voters of District 2 have been summarily denied the opportunity to make an informed decision when they go to the polls on August 26th. The blatant disregard for the individual voter is reprehensible and clearly demonstrates not only the poor character of the candidates but also their diminished value of the individual. Hiding from debate and withdrawing because self-imposed “conditions” were not met, are not the qualities people look for in their representatives. We should be asking, “How then, will their ability to legislate be judged?”
The Arizona Daily Star reported that McSally knows her strategy to avoid debates and other forums “may have hurt her politically,” but she refuses to answer a question just to be on the record as responding. “Perhaps I am somewhat a victim of the media that I am not going to give some talking point that just simplifies something that is very complex,” McSally told the Star. During her first failed run for Congress, when McSally went on the record, she outraged Arizona voters when she said she didn’t know what SB1070 was.
SB1070 is Arizona’s controversial immigration law that brought national attention to the state for years. During much of that time, McSally was living in Germany. She returned to the states only to run for congress, saying that God had called her. More likely, the voice she heard was John McCain who was actively recruiting for his potential replacement in the Senate.
For her part, Kais is running a stealth campaign on very little money but with the support of GOP establishment operatives and former McSally campaign workers. The NRCC took over McSally’s campaign early this summer. They replaced local campaign workers with GOP operatives.
The Northwest Conservatives are active in northwest Tucson, Marana, Catalina, and Oro Valley. The group meets monthly to discuss local and national issues. The Northwest Conservatives hold informational and candidate debates & forums throughout the year in an effort to engage the community in public issues. The are holding an Oro Valley candidate forum on July 9.