There will be no debate this year between state Sen. Betty Little and the first main-party challenger she has had in 12 years in the 45th Senate District.
The League of Women Voters wanted to organize a debate and contacted Little, League of Women Voters of the North Country President Suzy Johnson said.
But Little’s staff did not return three calls, she said. After the third call, Johnson decided Little, R-Queensbury, wasn’t interested.
Her opponent, Democrat Emily Martz, wanted a debate. On Monday, Little told The Post-Star editorial board that she would agree to a debate, but that agreement came too late for the League of Women Voters.
“For a debate of this scale, we would need more than two weeks to pull it together,” Johnson said. “It is too late to have one now.”
Martz was disappointed.
“I would love to have a forum,” she said. “I think it’s important to let voters know what their options are.”
Little said she was never eager to debate, but was willing.
“I debated that guy last time,” she said, referring to Green Party candidate Steve Ruzbacki in 2016.
Martz wondered why Little waited to say yes until it was too late.
“The willingness to have a debate or a forum with your opponent demonstrates your willingness to be transparent with your constituents,” Martz said. “I am willing to do that. It means I’m willing to listen to push-back.”
Johnson was frustrated to hear that Little was now saying she wanted a debate.
“We reached out to Betty at the beginning of October. We spoke to people in her office and gave them our information and the interest our office had in having a debate,” she said. “We contacted her office three times. Each time we were assured they would certainly pass it on to her campaign staff. They have never gotten back to us.”
After the third non-response, she said she assumed Little would not debate Martz.
“We took that as a negative response on her part,” she said. “Whatever happened, we did try.”
Little’s spokesman, Dan MacEntee, could not explain what happened. He said he wasn’t aware of the request, but that Little did fill out and return a League of Women Voters questionnaire in early October.
The 45th Senate District covers Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren and portions of St. Lawrence and Washington counties.
Post Star, Glens Falls, 16-Oct-2018
You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.