Lt. Gov. Debate Canceled Following Rules Dispute
One of only two debates in the race for lieutenant governor this year has been canceled after campaigns for incumbent Republican Bill Bolling and challenger Democrat Jody Wagner could not agree over debate rules.
No shock here: The Wagner camp is blaming Bolling, the Bolling camp is blaming Wagner, and organizers with host group the Prince William 100 say both campaigns were very good to work with and that they think neither is to blame.
Here's what happened, according to Prince William 100 program chairwoman Michelle Trenum. The two campaigns agreed some time ago to participate in a debate this Thursday. Since then, there have been a variety of discussions and negotiations over the debate's format and rules. About a week or two ago, the Bolling campaign came forward to ask that the debate rules include what is known as a "no-use" agreement, which bars both campaigns from using video of the debate on their websites and in ads.
The Wagner campaign did not want a "no-use" clause. Negotiations broke down over the weekend and the two campaigns, first Wagner, then Bolling, put out press releases insisting the other was responsible for the demise of the debate. Says Trenum: "It's just one of those things. They could not resolve their differences."
Each of the gubernatorial debates have included such a "no use" clause, which is designed to protect candidates from seeing snippets of debate footage show up in campaign ads. After a similar kerfuffle over the clause in the attorney general's race in June, the two candidate's in that race agreed to a modified clause in which both campaigns agreed they could post video from the debate but only if they used whole answers--rather than quick clips or edited snippets. Wagner's campaign said she proposed a similar rule to Bolling as a compromise but he said no thanks.
A key question: Was there a commitment by both campaigns to attend? Or was the commitment contingent on agreement over the rules? The Wagner campaign insists the former is true. The Bolling campaign says it was the latter. Trenum, diplomatically, says both campaigns had committed to the date but negotiations over small issues have continued since that happened and that she could see both campaign's perspective on the issue.
Whoever is to blame, here's the upshot. It now looks like there will be only one LG debate and it will be in Roanoke. "It's a definite disappointment," Trenum said
September 21, 2009; 4:44 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Election 2009 , Rosalind Helderman
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