UPDATED: Dem Council Candidates Challenge Opponents to Debate
Candidates Mark Hines, Greg Newcomer and Brian Sattinger have invited their opponents for Moorestown Township Council to publicly debate the issues.
UPDATE: Mayor John Button was reserved in his response to the Democrats' challenge.
"I will withhold comment at this point," he said Wednesday. "I understand what they're trying to do."
The mayor, who is running as an Independent with Randy Cherkas and Elaine Goralski, said he's "very comfortable that I understand the issues."
Button, the only incumbent running in this year's council race, filed as an Independent after he was passed over by the Moorestown Republican Municipal Committee earlier this year.
Democratic campaign manager Francine Cartwright said the candidates wanted to get their debate proposition out sooner than later, both to give the other candidates time to respond and prepare—assuming they're interested—and in case a second debate is warranted/wanted.
She said the debate, as envisioned by the Democratic candidates, would invite direct participation from residents.
"We definitely want Moorestown residents to be able to participate and supply questions," she said. "When you're really considering a campaign that is open ... if you're really interested in listening to the community, what other venue do you have?"
No timeline has been set for holding the debate, but Cartwright said, given the summer schedules of many Moorestonians, September may be a realistic target date for a debate.
The Democratic council candidates have fired the first shot in what is almost certain to be an interesting election season, formally challenging their opponents to a debate.
In a release put out by campaign manager Francine Cartwright, the Democratic candidates—Mark Hines, Greg Newcomer and Brian Sattinger—said, “We owe the voters an opportunity to actually see the candidates in person and learn where they stand on important issues facing our town before heading to the polls. We would like a format where the general public can attend, ask questions, and receive direct answers.”
The candidates went on to state, “It is our belief that elected officials work for the voters. Hence, we trust that the other candidates will look forward to an opportunity to share their positions. We hope that the candidates accept our offer.”
The Democrats are members of a crowded field, with three candidates running on the Republican ticket and three candidates running as Independents. Hines, Newcomer and Sattinger drew a hard line in the sand in the release, stating, “Any politician who would refuse to participate in a debate is not worthy of the people’s vote.”
Steve Solomon, campaign manager for the Republican ticket, responded to the Democrats’ invitation via email, writing, “We look forward to a vigorous debate in the fall. In the meanwhile, we will continue to bring our positive message of responsible government, and common sense ideas to the voters. We feel confident that the contrast between our small government approach and the tax and spend policies of the Democratic Party will resonate with our neighbors in November.”
The Republican ticket is comprised of candidates Victoria Napolitano, Phil Garwood and Pete Palko.
Mayor John Button, who is running as an Independent alongside Randy Cherkas and Elaine Goralski, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
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