Voters in New York’s 23rd will have very limited opportunities to see their two congressional candidates in face-to-face debates before the November 4 election. The reason? Tom Reed.
Reed seems particularly reluctant to let voters in the western part of the district, who could well decide the outcome, see him in action. WGRZ in Buffalo has offered to host a televised debate, and Democrat Martha Robertson has agreed to participate. Reed has not. Voters in this area are new to the district and have less reason to be familiar with Reed’s positions and stances than voters elsewhere. Evidently, Reed wants to keep it that way.
A debate at the Clemens Center in Elmira will be telecast locally, but the only other scheduled debate, at Olean High School, will not be broadcast. A joint interview to be conducted by the Jamestown Post-Journal will be closed to the public and will not be televised. Reed refused an invitation from the Steuben County League of Women Voters to participate in a candidate’s forum. Robertson accepted.
If you live in Ithaca, Geneva, Penn Yan, or other parts of the district, you won’t be able to see Reed and Robertson debate the issues that confront our district and the nation. Voters in Geneva and Yates County may recall the 2012 debate at Hobart and William Smith Colleges between Reed and Nate Shinagawa, the Democratic candidate at the time. A nimble Shinagawa ran circles around a lackluster Reed on that occasion, which may go some way toward explaining Reed’s determination to keep out of the public eye in 2014.