NAACP Berates Shannon, Bolling
Virginia NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani repeatedly criticized Democratic attorney general candidate Steve Shannon and Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for failing to attend the group's candidate's forum last night.
Khalfani mentioned their absences multiple times in front of the more than 100 people gathered at the Richmond Marriott for the candidate's forum as part of the group's annual conference.
He told the audience how Shannon initially agreed to come but then canceled two days ago with a phone call in which he said he assumed his Republican opponent Ken Cuccinelli was not attending either. Actually, Khalfani said, Cuccinelli was the first of six statewide candidates to RSVP and did so personally.
He also said that Bolling's campaign called for the first time an hour before the event to say Bolling could not attend and offered to send a surrogate in his place, but the NAACP told the campaign that the group does not allow surrogates.
Bolling's campaign manager Matt Wells said the campaign never received an invitation, and only obtained event details on Tuesday after it was too late to reschedule. Bolling spent the day in Washington and Northern Virginia yesterday for media interviews and meetings.
Shannon spokesman Brian Coy said Shannon had a scheduling conflict, but that the campaign sent state Sen. Henry Marsh on his behalf.
Gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell spoke at the event, as well as Jody Wagner, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, and Cuccinelli. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner also attended.
Deeds talked about his life growing up in Bath County, what got him into politics and his record. But he received the loudest applause by the almost entirely African American group when they noted he was down in the polls and asked him to answer this question: "Do you believe miracles happen?"
"On Tuesday, I'm going to be campaigning with Barack Obama. The president doesn't think this is a lost cause,'' Deeds said. "I had this little primary back in the spring,..Twenty days out from that primary the polls said I was 23 points down. I didn't finish 23 points down. I'm going to win this race! ...If you listen to polls, you get discouraged, down in the dumps...This race is ours to win!"
McDonnell spoke about his record, his family and his awe in possibly following in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry.
"I like to solve problems, bring people together, get things done, get results, not make excuses,'' he said. "I hope that's what you want to see in a governor."
The two men spoke at different times and then took questions from the audience about education, minority contracting and healthcare.
Warner took the stage as the event started encouraging people to vote. "When people get out and vote, remarkable things happen," he said.
October 24, 2009; 1:24 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Jody Wagner , Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell
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