On Friday DTC Chair Joe Angland issued a statement on behalf of Greenwich Democratic candidates:
The antics continue.
Last week the Republican Town Committee announced that its candidates, in a stark break from tradition, would not participate in a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters. Today (Friday), an organization called My Voting Power (MVP), announced a debate between Republican and Democratic candidates that they would co-sponsor with The Greenwich Sentinel and WGCH.
The announcement, and invitation to the public to register to attend, was made despite the prior public announcement that the Democratic candidates would not participate in a debate sponsored by the Sentinel, given the understanding that it is largely financed by leaders of the Republican party. As we noted, there is nothing untoward about a paper being affiliated with a political party, but it does render the paper an inappropriate host or moderator of what should be a fair debate.
The announcement notes that MVP had invited the Democratic candidates to a debate. It disingenuously fails to mention, however, that none had accepted the invitation and one had declined it.
Moreover, the invitations to the candidates had been basically “save the date” notices, with a promise that MVP founder Tony Turner would follow up with a call to discuss details, like the procedures and ground rules that are critical for a fair debate. The promised calls never came.
The Democratic candidates will not participate in this charade. They have accepted invitations to debates sponsored by the Round Hill Association and the League of Women Voters, and to a forum sponsored by the Greenwich Association of Realtors.
As explained, the Sentinel is not neutral. As for MVP, we are not entirely sure what it is. It purports to be focused on millennials, but judging by the attendance at the one debate it hosted (in the 2021 special election), it appears to reflect a much older – and rabidly Republican – demographic. Its website contains only materials from its non-millennial founder and two items from a millennial reporter for the Sentinel, who is not a Greenwich voter. Moreover, MVP proved itself unable to moderate a debate, permitting audience behavior – including jeering and cat-calling – never seen at an LWV debate.
We can only surmise these current shenanigans have been orchestrated to provide cover for the Republican debate-dodgers who feared having the Republican Town Committee’s recent shift to extreme positions become widely known, costing them the support of Greenwich voters. Expecting appropriate outrage over their unwillingness to debate, they scurried to find proxies who are so far from neutral that Democratic candidates would, quite reasonably, decline to participate in a debate that they sponsored. And they then say, “see, Democrats declined to debate too.”
This is transparent nonsense. The League of Women Voters has sponsored and moderated balanced debates for the residents of Greenwich for decades, the vast majority of which were followed by Republican election victories. It has well-established procedures to ensure that balance, and it maintains a civil environment for the debate. The LWV debate has long been the only debate for all candidates on all issues. The Greenwich Association of Realtors forum is properly focused on issues related to realtors, and the event is not billed as a debate. The Round Hill Association debate is limited to offices serving that area of town, and it has historically served as a supplement to but not a substitute for the LWV debate.
The Republican refusal to participate in the only legitimate debate for all candidates on all issues speaks volumes about how they believe Greenwich voters would react if they discovered what this Republican Party stands for.
State Senate Candidates Asked about Police Accountability, CRT, Tolls, Zoning, and Taxes during Debate Intended for Millennials