There have been no debates for one of the most contested primaries in Eastern Washington, the race for a state House seat representing the 6th District.
The one debate that was scheduled for incumbent Democrat John Driscoll and Republicans Shelly O’Quinn and John Ahern was cancelled after Driscoll and Ahern decided not to participate.
O’Quinn sent a news release criticizing both her opponents for not appearing at The League of Women Voters of the Spokane Area forum on July 13.
“While their reluctance is a testament to the momentum that this campaign has developed, it is unfortunate that the voters will not have the opportunity to see the candidates next to one another talking about the issues,” she said in her news release.
Ahern said he decided not to show up after he got word that Driscoll wasn’t going to be there. He said he questioned if O’Quinn would participate because O’Quinn earlier declined to participate in video interviews with The Spokesman-Review.
“She might just get scared and not even show up for the forum,” Ahern said. ”That definitely went through my head.”
He said he attended a campaign event in Spokane Valley instead.
“There was uncertainty whether she would show up or not,” Ahern said. ”I decided I got better things to do.”
Ann Murphy, president of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, said Ahern had originally said he would appear but later cancelled. Driscoll never accepted an invitation, she said.
League rules don’t allow debates to be held with one candidate, so the forum for the 6th District House seat was cancelled, she said.
Driscoll said his campaign decided last fall not to participate in any forum or debate until after the pimary “when my final opponent has been chosen.”
“After we know the results of the primary, I am more than happy to debate my opponent anytime and anywhere,” Driscoll said. “And I’m actually looking forward to it.”
When 6th District candidates were interviewed by The Spokesman-Review in recent weeks, O’Quinn declined to be videotaped and would not allow her interview to be recorded unless the newspaper agreed not to post the recording on the Internet. The first of the campaign interviews with Driscoll and Ahern will appear on spokesman.com later this week.
O’Quinn said the League’s forum, which is replayed on City Cable 5, would have reached many more voters than videos on spokesman.com
“Our campaign has a rule that we don’t do video unless we own it,” O’Quinn said.