Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Russ Potts Debate Watch

As I've discussed before, centrist independent Virginia gubernatorial candidate Russ Potts [homepage] has been working hard to get the Virginia Bar Association to allow him to join the Republican and Democrat candidates in their gubernatorial debate, scheduled for July 16. Their excuse? Potts was not a candidate when the debate was announced last year (and that the Republican, Jerry Kilgore, refuses to debate with Potts).

Many editorial boards and columnists have weighed in supporting Potts' bid to participate in the debate, and now the Potts campaign is asking all Virginians to join the effort. In emails to supporters and on the homepage, the campaign suggests that voters contact the Virginia Bar Association's leaders: President James Meath (804-783-6412) and Executive VP Breck Arrington (804-644-0041). If you're a Virginia voter (and obviously if you think Potts should be allowed to join in the debate), please call or email Meath and/or Arrington. I would not advise non-Virginians to do so, in the interests of not doing more harm than good to Potts' efforts. You can see some sample emails here.

There is no good excuse for the exclusion of Russ Potts from the VBA's debate. None, except that Jerry Kilgore and Tim Kaine are worried that he might actually tell Virginians what they need to hear. I add Kaine to that since although he has said Potts is welcome to participate, he has not said that he will boycott the debate unless Potts is allowed to join. He should take this step, and put the burden solely on Kilgore's shoulders.

Again, if you're from Virginia, please take a moment to email or call the VBA and encourage them to let Potts into the debate. It's the least we can do.

Previous posts on the Potts campaign:
- "Catching Up" (6/22)
- "Let Potts Debate" (6/20)
- "Primary Results from Virginia" (6/14)
- "Centrist Surge in Virginia" (6/13)
- "Renegade Realist: More on Russ Potts" (5/18)
- "A Little Straight Talk" (5/12)
- "Walking the Walk in Virginia" (4/29)


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