Hey, GOP: Is This a Setup?

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The last time we wrote about the lack of Republican candidates at an election forum, it was at an event organized by the Southern Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce. Democrats showed, but no Republicans.

Ken Moyes, a campaign volunteer for Frank Antenori, David Gowan and Ted Vogt, claimed the whole thing was "designed to be a setup."

Now, there's been another Republican no-show case.

According to a press released by Democrat Todd Camenisch's campaign, he was ready to debate his Republican opponent, Frank Antenori, in Sierra Vista on Sept. 22, but the forum was cancelled due to the lack of response from Republican candidates—with the exception of Vogt, who said he had a conflict that day.

Yeah, I know, that big, bad League of Women voters is just searching for ways to make Republicans look like idiots. Whatever.

Here's the press release:

Republican candidates in Legislative District 30 have given the cold shoulder to at least one public debate and possibly any future debates, which Democrat Todd Camenisch says shuts voters out of making informed decisions before they vote in the Nov. 2 general election.

Camenisch was prepared to debate Republican incumbent state Sen. Frank Antenori in Sierra Vista on Sept. 22. Camenisch was notified Thursday morning (Sept. 16) that the LD 30 forum there has been cancelled.

“Legally, we cannot hold a Forum without any opponents,” Shirley Bellamy of the League of Women Voters wrote in an email notice of the cancellation.

“Although I’ve tried to contact (Antenori and other GOP candidates) with emails and phone calls several times … I’ve gotten only one response, that from (Rep. Ted) Vogt, who declined due to other commitments,” Bellamy wrote.

News of the cancellation stunned Camenisch, who plans on being at the site of the forum, the Sierra Vista Public Library, 2600 E. Tacoma, Sept. 22 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., to meet voters.

“The Republicans are exploiting technicalities, such as the fact that the League of Women Voters cannot legally hold a forum without any opponents, to close down open debate, which is one of the basic cornerstones of democracy,” Camenisch said Thursday.

“I believe the silent treatment that the voters are getting from my opponent is an insult to voters,” Camenisch said. “This shows how little my opponent thinks of the constituents that he purportedly serves.”

Camenisch will continue to reach out to voters in LD 30. He is scheduled to appear Thursday afternoon on the John C. Scott show on local radio talk station KJLL, “The Jolt,” AM 1330, where he will discuss the debate boycott and other issues he believes are of a concern to voters.

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