The Jefferson Area Tea Party opposes and denounces the attempt by the Virginia Associated Press Managing Editors and the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association (VCCA) to effectively pre-empt the Virginia Senate primary process by hosting a general election debate on Wednesday, December 7 in Richmond. The debate will be part of Associated Press Day at the Capitol and moderated by Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at UVA.
Seven of the nine candidates did not meet the sponsors' qualifications of averaging at least 15 percent in published, non-candidate primary polls and amassing an amount of money equal to at least 20 percent of the candidate's associated party front runner. In our opinion, the bar was set exceptionally high for a December 2011 debate that is scheduled prior to any primary debates.
It is obvious that the "marquee billing" of the two current front runners, George Allen (R) and Tim Kaine (D), gives VAP and VCCA a sense of power and inflated self-importance. And it is equally obvious to see why Allen and Kaine are all too willing to risk a call of un-sportsmanlike conduct by failing to protest the lockout of their primary opponents. This is precisely the business-as-usual political high jinx that has contributed to the crisis in America today. But all of these parties involved, including moderator Bob Gibson, are doing a blatant disservice to Virginia voters and the candidates left on the outside looking in. It seems to us that it is certainly early enough in the process for an all-inclusive debate.
May we remind the Virginia AP and the VCCA is the right of the voters to choose the general election candidates and not theirs? To them, the primary process may seem like a pesky inconvenience but it is a vital step for We the People.
The JATP calls for the inclusion of Kevin Chisholm (I), Tim Donner (R), Bishop E.W. Jackson (R), Courtney Lynch (D), David McCormick (R), Julien Modica (D), and Jaime Radtke (R) in the name of fair civic process.
And if the debate sponsors cannot bring themselves to refrain from imposing undue influence on the voters, we call on George Allen and Tim Kaine to rise above and do the unselfish act of refusing to debate without all of their competitors present.
Issued 12/6/2011Carole Thorpe, Chairwoman of the Jefferson Area Tea Party