Campaign consultant Jim Spencer, who has been hired by Mayor Carlo DeMaria to help with the Mayor’s re-election campaign, said this past week that as far as he is concerned the only reason that a debate has not been scheduled between the Mayoral candidates to this point, is that Alderman Robert Van Campen, one of two candidates challenging the mayor in the upcoming election, continues to ask for multiple debates without agreeing to the time, place or format of the one the Mayor has already agreed to.
“We’ve been very, very clear that the Mayor is prepared to meet in one debate, or forum with both candidates, before the September 17 preliminary election,” said Spencer. “The only one holding it up is Van Campen. He’s had me meet with three different people (to negotiate the terms of the debate) and every time we think we’re close, he makes demands to have more than one.”
Spencer said in his last email exchange with Van Campen, the challenger told the Mayor’s campaign that he would “agree to one debate before the primary, if the Mayor agreed to debate three times after the primary.”
“I told him that it’s very nice that he is so confident about the outcome on September 17, but we’ll wait to see how the voters decide before scheduling any debates for after the primary,” said Spencer.
Spencer’s statements seem to contradict remarks by Van Campen last week, that a debate between the candidates was being held up by DeMaria, who Van Campen said had refused to agree to debate so far this summer.
The third candidate in the race, Alderwoman Millie Cardello told the Independent that she is very interested in meeting the other candidates in a debate, but asked, “who would be hosting the debate” and said that she hasn’t yet been contacted by anyone about a debate schedule or format.
Spencer said he is still hopeful that one debate can be scheduled and agreed to by all parties before the September 17 run-off, to give voters a chance to view all three candidates against each other.