GOP Congressional District 11 nominee David Harmer’s campaign has delivered a written invitation to Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney to appear in six town hall meetings in the next two months.
I can predict the answer already: No.
Challengers everywhere challenge incumbents to town halls or debates or whatever, all in the name of educating voters. McNerney did the same when he ran against then-incumbent Richard Pombo followed by 2008 GOP nominee Dean Andal’s unfulfilled request of McNerney.
Voters might be educated during such events.
But most incumbents figure they can educate voters without the presence of a challenger, who benefits from the free media he or she might not otherwise receive. And there is always a debate over an acceptable moderator and an independent source of questions, etc.
So, my prediction is this: Total silence from the McNerney camp followed by a press release chock full of indignation about how the incumbent refuses to talk to the people.
That’s not to say that Harmer and McNerney will never appear together. Nonpartisan groups will probably try to put together candidate forums between now and Nov. 2.
The CD11 candidates have been invited to participate in a taped, televised round-table sponsored by the Contra Times and the League of Women Voters, which will air throughout Contra Costa County in September and October. I am the moderator and I am writing the questions.
Here’s the letter from Harmer:
David Harmer Challenges Jerry McNerney to
Take Campaign to the People
Harmer invites McNerney to series of town halls throughout
11th Congressional District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2010
(San Ramon, CA) – As the election arm of Nancy Pelosi and the congressional Democratic leadership ramps up its attack campaign for the fall, David Harmer has challenged Jerry McNerney to a much different tack: taking both campaigns directly to the voters through a series of town hall discussions.
In a letter delivered to McNerney’s campaign headquarters Friday, Harmer proposed that the two candidates participate in town hall meetings in Lodi, Manteca, Tracy, Danville, Pleasanton, and Morgan Hill. The proposed timeline includes three town halls in September, and three in October.
“This is not a debate,” said David Harmer. “The point here is to foster discussion about our respective plans for the district. Jerry McNerney has been adamant in his support for Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama’s big-government agenda. On the other hand, I believe in Ronald Reagan’s vision for a smaller, more efficient government that fosters a healthy free-market economy. These forums will give voters the opportunity to hear and understand the differences between McNerney’s record and Reagan’s vision, and I strongly urge Jerry McNerney to join me in this venture.”
“McNerney has been criticized since his government healthcare vote of avoiding town hall meetings,” added Campaign Manager Cameron Wilkinson. “This gives McNerney an opportunity to get back outside of the Beltway and join David Harmer for informative discussions with the voters. The point is not to debate, but instead to connect with the constituents and let them know that their elected officials are interested in being transparent about their policies.”
The Harmer team is awaiting a decision by the McNerney campaign on this invitation.