UPDATE: A phone call to County Commissioner Todd Mielke confirms that he's appeared at debates and candidate forums many times before with Roskelley.
"We’ve done the League of Women Voters debate, we’ve done the KSPS debate, then we’ve done a bunch of candidate forums," Mielke says.
So why is he complaining about Roskelley missing this one debate? Well, he says that the Downtown Rotary debate is one of the "most significant" venues.
Generally, it's the underdog that complains that the incumbent won't debate enough. But that's not the case with the County Commissioner contest between Todd Mielke and John Roskelley.
Today, Mielke sent out this press release, hitting John Roskelley for failing to agree to tomorrow's Spokane Rotary Club debate.
Why Won’t Roskelley Debate?
The two candidates for County position 1 were scheduled to debate on October 18th at the Spokane Rotary Club.
When offered alternative dates to fit his schedule, Roskelley declined to participate.
“I find it disheartening that the voters won’t be able to hear a potential Commissioner talk for himself in a debate format” said current County Commissioner Todd Mielke.
Roskelley is still running negative ads attacking the Commissioners activities in the past term. “If my opponent insists on going negative, he should not be afraid to hear a different perspective” said Mielke.
When asked if Mr. Mielke would be open to another time for the debate to be rescheduled he answered by saying “Any place. Any time.”
“With only three weeks until the election and ballots going out on October 16, you would think the campaign would be every candidate’s top priority,” said Mielke. “From what I’m told, my opponent has scheduled a trip out of town.”
I contacted Roskelley by e-mail and asked him to respond. Here's his unedited reply, with some yellow highlighting removed:
I don’t get Mielke’s press releases.
When given the original date, which was for today, I had a commitment I could not get out of. The Rotary Club scheduled the debate without my consent and then expected me to change my plans. I wouldn’t. When given the option of another date, October 25, I declined. The ballots will have already been dropped and out for a week. There’s no advantage to me to debate at a later date without it being televised and shown repeatedly. I was at a debate last night with him and will be at two more before the election.
Since when is it news when a candidate misses a debate? Shea won’t debate Biviano at all. Have you made a big deal out of that? Did you cover it when O’Quinn was out of town for the CORD debate? You know it’s just cheap political press.
Mielke continues to exaggerate what he’s done over the last eight years, which is nothing, and fails to address the fact that he’s raised property taxes 13.52% over six years and the sales tax five times. The real question, and what you need to pursue, is why he has shoved criminal fraud under the table for his largest campaign supporter and, given all the evidence, is continuing to do so.
Have fun with it.