The Covington News reported today what I've known for some time -- my opponent, Chris Smith, refuses to answer live questions in public about the issues.  When the Chamber of Commerce and Covington News invited us for an evening forum, Mr. Smith said he couldn't make the proposed date.  They suggested another date, and he couldn't make that one either.  To accommodate schedules, they then offered a day-time taping with just the moderators and the two candidates in a studio answering questions.  Mr. Smith says he's too busy for that too.

I'll participate anytime, anyplace, in any format.  I'm a busy man, but this is important.  It's Mr. Smith who's hiding. 

Under normal circumstances, the organizers could move ahead, and it would be the No Show's loss.  But, with only two contested races in the entire county, it's hard to stage a forum without one of the candidates.  At this point, I'm ready to debate his empty chair, but I understand why the organizers wouldn't want to put on such a show.

Clearly, Mr. Smith sees talking unscripted to voters about issues that matter as my strength and his weakness. He's right.  And, so, he's seeking to change the game.

In sports, that's how you try to survive as an underdog.  In basketball, you stall on offense and you foul intentionally on defense.  In football, when you can't stop an opponent's offense any other way, you bend the rules and hope not to get caught.  Consider the public mauling the New York Jets secondary committed against Falcon's All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez last night.  But, despite triple coverage and blatant holding, Tony broke free and made his catches.  The Falcons lost the war, but Tony prevailed in his personal battle.  He made 10 pass catches -- most in clutch situations -- because he comes prepared, he's focused on doing his job, and he's committed to winning.  He wouldn't get frustrated and he's never distracted.

I'd love a dozen forums before November 5.  It's vitally important candidates openly discuss critical issues with the voters before, during, and after elections.  But, I can only hold up my end of that bargain.  My opponent thinks he can stall his way to November 5, but he's going to be really disappointed with how that plays out.

He can play his game of keep away, but this campaign is marching forward undeterred and not distracted.  I'm prepared, I'm informed, and I'll have the discussion one-on-one with every citizen in town if that's what it takes.  My website, campaign video, and  Facebook page aren't just tools to win an election.  They're how I connect with voters to discuss the issues that matter.  It's called substance, and it's what I'm all about.

I'm making the effort, and I know the voters will too.  It's Mr. Smith who's looking for an easy way out.

There isn't one.



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