What is it with Ann Kirkpatrick and hiding?

| September 17 2012

Ann Kirkpatrick cancels District 1’s first general election debate 
Voters continue to wonder, “Where in the World is Ann?”

Another day, another no show by Ann Kirkpatrick.

Weeks ago, Arizona Public Media in Pima County planned a televised candidate forum for today so that the voters could hear from the candidates wanting to represent them in Congress. Ann Kirkpatrick, after agreeing to the forum, backed out suddenly rather than debate Jonathan Paton.

This is just the latest in a string of non-partisan candidate forums hosted by the media that Ann Kirkpatrick has skipped out on, including one hosted by the Maricopa Monitor newspaper in July and another hosted by Arizona Public Media in August.

“It’s not surprising to me that Ann Kirkpatrick is unwilling to openly and honestly answer questions in front of the voters of this district, especially after she walked out on her constituents in Holbrook,” said Jonathan Paton, the Republican candidate for the First Congressional District. “Ann Kirkpatrick seems to have a new excuse every week for ditching forums and debates, but my campaign is going to hold her accountable regardless on her votes for Obamacare, the failed stimulus, and over $100,000 spent in her last two days in office on things like taxpayer-funded bonuses and payouts to former campaign staff.”

The hypocrisy of Kirkpatrick’s latest duck-and-run maneuver stands in stark contrast to almost exactly two years ago when she criticized Paul Gosar for not debating her in the run-up to the general election in 2010. The Arizona Republic’s Linda Valdez wrote at the time of Kirkpatrick’s criticism:

She’s challenged her opponent to debates, but, like our accidental governor, Republican CD 1 candidate Paul Gosar, who has Sarah Palin’s backing, has not been enthusiastic about facing a competent opponent in public.

Now Kirkpatrick is telling the world that Gosar also failed to attend yesterday’s editorial board meeting at the Republic. She’s right. He wasn’t there. She’s also right that she faced the kind of tough questions any politician should be willing to face.

If Republican candidates – from governor on down – refuse to meet their opponents, the public should be asking why. If this is merely a strategy to avoid making mistakes in public, that’s worth noting. If it is contempt of the process, that’s important. If it’s arrogance, that’s also something voters should consider carefully. It is easy to throw stones from a distance. It’s much harder to sit in a room with a political opponent and answer journalists’ pesky questions. But that level of pressure is nothing compared to the stress elected officials face on a regular basis.

There should be no room for wimps in politics.

Ann Kirkpatrick’s press release at the time looks like self-parody only two years later: “It’s consistent with his strategy of hiding from the public, and voters deserve better than that.”

Kirkpatrick is right; we deserve better than a candidate who consistently ducks-and-runs from any and every non-partisan candidate forum that comes her way.

“There are still 52 days for Ann Kirkpatrick to come clean about her record of destroying American jobs, giving taxpayer money to Obama administration cronies, and cutting Medicare for seniors by $716 billion dollars,” said Paton. “I invite her to join me in front of the voters to debate her record at any time.”

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