Chamber failed to confirm 6th Dist. forum with candidates | Driscoll says Kilmer avoiding joint appearances

A Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce candidates forum scheduled for Wednesday featuring 6th Congressional District candidates Democrat Derek Kilmer and Republican Bill Driscoll was never actually scheduled.

Last week the chamber released a “cancellation” notice about the forum saying that one candidate pulled out. Spokespeople for the chamber have sense refused to say which candidate pulled out.

Kilmer campaign officials say that they never committed to attending the chamber’s September 26 event and offered to try and reschedule a different date with the chamber.

“The Kilmer Campaign has never cancelled any debate or forum,” said Matthew Randazzo, Kilmer’s communications director. “Every debate or forum we have confirmed our ability to attend we have attended. The Kilmer campaign has received an incredibly high volume of requests for appearances over the next month, and it is impossible for us to make every one across the breadth of our very large district.”

Alex Hays, a spokesman for the Driscoll campaign, said that both candidates have tight schedules and cannot make every event, but said the Kilmer campaign’s scheduling excuses are a way of avoiding joint appearances.

“If you’d like to avoid joint appearances, and create less of a stink about it, you simply refuse to schedule joint appearances,” Hays said.

Randazzo emphasized that Kilmer sometimes has to decline invitations but offers to reschedule events at a more convenient time.

“Both candidates have had to decline appearances that the other candidate confirmed due to scheduling concerns,” Randazzo said.

Hays said that strategy, rather than canceling agreed to events, amounts to a “distinction without a difference.”

According to Randazzo, Kilmer and Driscoll will be in Hansville for a League of Women Voters forum at 6:30 p.m. on October 5 at the Greater Hansville Community Center.

On October 15, both candidates are expected at a noon forum put on by the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and League of Women Voters. Later that same day, there will be a debate in Port Townsend.

The candidates are also expected in a KCTS live broadcast debate debate October 19 and at Peninsula High School for a 6 p.m. debate, sponsored by the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

In other campaign news, Randazzo and the Kilmer campaign were pleased to announce that former President Bill Clinton is supporting Kilmer for Congress.

Clinton was in Seattle on Saturday, Sept. 15, and spent about an hour with Kilmer and his supporters. While visiting with the group, he thanked Derek for spending the summer of 1995 interning in his Office of Domestic Policy and told everyone in attendance how proud he was of the leader Derek Kilmer had become.

President Clinton then spoke at a gathering of more than 3,000 supporters of Jay Inslee at the Seattle Convention Center and expressed his support for Kilmer.

“If you really think the economy is the biggest issue in the country, it’s not a close case,” said Clinton. “There are hardly any candidates anywhere in the United States who have better records at actually doing the kind of creative cooperation it takes to create jobs instead of just bloviating about it.”


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