Democratic Mecklenburg County Commissioners Dan Murrey, Jennifer Roberts and Harold Cogdell, Jr. have decided not to participate in a debate tentatively scheduled for tonight.
The debate was to be sponsored by Speak Out Charlotte, a conservative talk show on cable access moderated by Republican former county commissioner Jim Puckett.
Puckett said in an email that news media had been invited to watch the debate live and “therefore negate any chance of ‘shenanigans’ or report on anything that appeared ‘unfair.’”
The Democratic at-large commissioners issued the following joint statement:
“In originally agreeing to participate in this debate, the hosts represented
to us that it would be taped for rebroadcast on TV News 14, the Government
Channel and other local news outlets in its entirety. However, the news director of News 14, when contacted, stated that no such agreement exists and he was not aware of the event.
Given this misrepresentation and the show’s history of promoting single perspective viewpoints, we lack the confidence that this debate will provide the public with any meaningful opportunity upon which to compare and contrast policy differences between candidates.
We have all agreed to participate in the debate sponsored by the League of
Women Voters to be aired on WTVI. We hope that Mecklenburg County voters
will watch that event to better acquaint themselves with the candidates and
their positions. We are also willing to participate in additional debates
with a neutral venue, a professional moderator and a balanced format.
Harold Cogdell, Jr.”