Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Disinvited to the debate

There was a significant absence at the senatorial candidates' debate/forum yesterday: Ray Metcalfe.

He came up here from Anchorage to participate, however—he was just denied entry. He'd checked about a week before to make sure he was still on the list, yep, he was. Come on up, they said. He comes up, checks in about an hour early—and is told he can't participate. The Libertarian candidate offered to step down and give up his spot and time—nope, no way. Mr. Metcalfe is disinvited, uninvited, unwelcome. So he had to go back to Anchorage, unheard.

Rather interesting, don't you think?

More to come.


Philip Munger said...

Where was Mark?

Ishmael said...

That's truly unfortunate. Ray's not nearly the fringe candidate people think he is.... I wonder if Ted's people got him booted for singlehandedly taking down Alaska's big cheese....

yohaines said...

Who made this decision? They should take the blame and step up and explain why Ray scares them so much.

Deirdre Helfferich said...

From what I gather, per Ray's Fairbanks host, Ray was a little late in getting the questionnaire in, so he called the week before the debate to find out if he could still come. He was told by someone on the organizing crew--but not the top cheese, whoever that was--that he should go ahead and show up. So he did. Then the top cheese told him he could not participate. It was then that Libertarian (whose name escapes me) offered up his space, and the cheese still wouldn't budge. However, I haven't been able to reach Ray or the Libertarian to confirm this. However, assuming I've got the story accurately, it seems to me that 1) the organizers should have taken responsibility for their error, if that's what it was, in telling him he could participate, and 2) when given the option of not having to make any special setup arrangements, should have been gracious enough to let Ray participate.

Not letting him participate was a disservice to the public. But then, the last few election cycles have seen this kind of thing in debates and forums in Alaska on a regular basis: minority parties are regularly excluded, independent-minded candidates in mainstream parties are not invited. Remember when Diane Benson kept getting snubbed by debate organizers?

Phil--which Mark? Begich?