House candidate Magee trying to hold another forum
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 13:58

Event to take place June 9 in library at 6:30

by Ben Boehl

    Trying to get over 20 actively campaigning political candidates in one place at one time is a daunting challenge, but Republican House of Delegates candidate Carl Magee is trying to make it happen.
    Magee is the latest to try to get all the 6th District General Assembly candidates together for one more candidate forum.
    Magee said the event would be open to both Democrats and Republicans, but the County Council  candidates would be excluded, since the six council candidates have already had multiple forums.
    Magee pointed out that the first forum held on May 14 was missed by a handful of prominent candidates, including Senate state candidate Del. John Olszewski, Jr. and his Our Team ticketmates Eric Washington, Ed Crizer and Del. Mike Weir, Jr.    
    Fellow Democrats Nick D’Adamo, Larry Harmel and Republican Mitch Toland, Jr. also were not present.

“I want to give these guys another chance. I kept hearing how they didn’t know [about the May 14 forum],” Magee explained.
    Magee is planning an event on June 9 at the North Point Library starting at 6:30 p.m., which was the venue for the first forum.
    Magee’s plan was to be the host of the forum and have the questions asked by the audience.
    Candidates were critical of Magee’s plan to be the moderator and a candidate.
    To avoid this conflict, Magee called local attorney Nick DelPizzo to moderate the forum.
    “I think we should use Nick. This guy is very well liked and respected by both parties,” Magee said, stating that the questions will still come from the audience.
    Some candidates pointed out that having DelPizzo as moderator presents an apparent conflict of interest, despite the respect he commands in the community. 
    House candidate Bob Long said that he has nothing personal against DelPizzo but thinks there is a conflict of interest, since DelPizzo is affiliated with House candidate Ric Metzgar’s campaign.
    “I wanted to make sure the [moderator] doesn’t take sides,” Long said. “[DelPizzo] might be fair, but he is still Ric’s attorney and donated to his campaign.”
    Metzgar confirmed that DelPizzo is the legal advisor for his campaign, but said it was not his decision to have him as moderator.
    “I had nothing to do with [the selection of DelPizzo],” Metzgar stated.
    After a lot of backlash from some of the candidates, DelPizzo decided against taking part in the forum.
    “I just wanted to do a good thing, but I’ll try again next election cycle,” DelPizzo told the Eagle.
    Other candidates  seemed to view the effort with varying degrees of doubt. Bob Long said he preferred to see a local member of the media as a moderator. He and other candidates have questioned why Magee does not hold a Republican-only forum, with nine Republicans in the race — arguably a large enough group to fill an evening’s agenda by themselves.
    With invitations being sent out to both Democrats and Republicans running for the House and Senate, there could be as many as 23 candidates at the event.
    Magee said he wanted the event open to both parties for more debate.
    “Republicans debating among themselves? We all have the same views,” Magee responded.  “And I do believe there are quite a bit of Democrats coming. Let’s make it a bash.”
    But it appears that the Democrats have their own event set for that night.
    Del. John Olszewski, who is running for the state Senate, said he will be attending another forum.
    “I plan to attend the Democratic Candidates Forum being held by the County Seal Democratic Club on the night of June 9. They voted at their most recent meeting to hold a forum before the primary election, and I look forward to it,” Olszew-ski said.
    “Likewise, I encourage all of the Democratic candidates invited to attend and take part in the exchange.”
    Dan Liberatore, Metzgar and Toland have confirmed they will be at the Magee forum. Republican Robin Grammer said he had to decline because of his work schedule.
    Long said he was undecided if he was going to attend at press time.