Cobb asking for explanation from Stefanik for not agreeing to Saranac Lake debate
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 5:56 pm

CANTON -- The campaign of Democratic congressional candidate Tedra Cobb of Canton says she wants to know why Republican incumbent Elise Stefanik won’t meet her in Saranac Lake for a debate sponsored by the Adirondack Free Enterprise.

“The voters of Northern New York should not be kept in the dark,” s statement from Cobb’s campaign office said.

“We believe it is a crucial aspect of the democratic process that the voters be included in a debate about the issues that face their district,” the statement said.

The two, along with Green Party Candidate Lynn Kahn, have agreed to meet for debates at Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh Oct. 23, WWNY in Watertown Oct. 30 and Spectrum News in Albany on a date to be announced.

But the Enterprise said in an article in the newspaper Saturday that they had called off a debate they were planning for mid-October in Harrietstown Town Hall, what they were calling “a classic-format debate, like we’ve organized for voters many times in the past,” according to Enterprise Managing Editor Peter Crowley.

The statement from the Cobb campaign said Stefanik’s recalcitrance to appear at an open debate is a continuation of a pattern of avoidance of public events.

“She is no stranger to being inaccessible to her voters,” the statement said. “And she is rejecting calls for transparency and accessibility from her constituents. We demand the Stefanik campaign explain why she continues these attempts to suppress the voices of her constituents.”

The statement pointed to the “several dozen town halls, meet & greets, and voter forums” Cobb has held since her campaign began.

Cobb and Kahn have also committed to a League of Women Voters forum Oct. 18, which Stefanik has not committed to, the Enterprise article said.

They could have held the Saranac event without the incumbent, but the Enterprise’s Crowley said without Stefanik it would not have been worthwhile to curious voters.

“We don’t think an event like that would serve undecided voters very well,” Crowley said. “It would draw fans of the participating candidates, but getting all the candidates together to discuss issues would be much more valuable. People who want to criticize Ms. Stefanik for her absence are welcome to do that without us going to the trouble of holding an event.”