UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 24. 3:17 p.m.
By Mason Votes Director Christian Smith
For the lieutenant gubernatorial candidates, Sunday was eventful for the usually relatively quiet campaigns (compared to their gubernatorial candidate counterparts). Jody Wagner (D) posted a press release on Sunday to her website stating that Bill Bolling (R) “threatened” not to attend the upcoming debate scheduled for this Thursday at George Mason University.
“It became painfully clear to us that the Wagner campaign was more interested in debating about debates than actually holding a debate,” wrote the Bolling campaign in a dueling press release that was subsequently published to their website.
Wagner then retorted with another online statement, “Bill has decided not to show up and I hope he reconsiders. I still plan on attending the event to show my commitment to the voters in Prince William and across the state.”
Matt Wells, Bolling’s campaign manager, wrote, “Unfortunately, the Wagner campaign has refused to discuss the rules of this debate in good faith, as is evidenced by their recent press release; and has now issued a factually inaccurate and misleading statement in an effort to try and score some cheap political points in advance of the debate. Given these developments, it is clear that the debate cannot move forward as scheduled on September 24th and we have advised the debate organizers of that fact.”
A little before 11 p.m. Sunday night, Wagner wrote, “My opponent is going to be a “no show” for the Prince William 100 debate–disappointing, but not surprising,” on her twitter page.
Monday morning, the organizers of the debate made the final call to cancel it. Its success had hinged on what is called a no-use agreement. Bolling had evidently asked for such an agreement which, according to their press release, would stipulate that neither campaign would be “allowed to use portions of the audio or video of the debate for political purposes.” Wagner’s campaign responded saying that, “Despite our opposition to the last minute rule change, we offered what we hoped would be a compromise that suggested the same terms of previous down-ballot debates this year. ”
The event was sponsored by Mason, Prince William Committee of 100, Prince William Regional Chamber of Commerce, Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce and Northern Virginia Community College.