Dent wants debates to be 1-on-1, without Towne
Jake Towne says he’s collected enough signatures to gain ballot access in the 15th Congressional District as an independent. But incumbent Republican Charlie Dent’s campaign sees the race as a two-man contest, and doesn’t want Towne muddying the political waters by participating in the coming campaign debates.
Dent campaign manager Shawn Millan told pa2010.com that the campaign would prefer Towne be kept out of the debates, so that voters can focus on the contrast between Dent and Democratic challenger John Callahan.
“We believe that that’s how the electorate would be best served,” Millan said. “Ultimately you want the top two contenders to be given the most time to debate the issues.”
As a libertarian-leaning candidate who calls the federal income tax “immoral” and “Marxist,” Towne could be spoiler for Dent if the Lehigh Valley race ends up being a tight one. Towne has already accepted an invitation to participate in at least one debate. He has until early next month to file the necessary signatures to get on the ballot, and Dent’s campaign will have another week after that to file a ballot challenge.
“I take that as kind of a sign of weakness, being scared of an independent who’s put all this effort into getting on the ballot,” Towne said in response to Millan’s comments. “I take objection to it as anti-democratic.”
UPDATE—In a statement, Callahan campaign manager Justin Schall says: “Mayor Callahan believes in the democratic process and thinks Jake Towne should be invited to the debates because he’s on the ballot. It’s unfortunate that Congressman Dent is trying to use his power to restrict the conversation.”
July 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm