Debating format has hopefuls at odds

Six Republican candidates in the June 10 primaries will debate next week while two others are already going at it over the details of their debate that will now be delayed.

A Wednesday debate will feature the two candidates for Coles district supervisor and four candidates for Occoquan.

A Thursday debate was to have the two candidates for the 52nd House District, Jeff Frederick and Jack Rollison, but Frederick’s campaign backed out Wednesday because they said the debate format has not been agreed to and there is not enough time to promote it for a proper attendance.

Frederick’s campaign manager Matt Robbins said a May 13 press release by Rollison implied the two camps had agreed to a debate format, but it lacked a question-and-answer period that Frederick had sought.

“You have apparently taken the liberty of officially announcing a specific date and a unilaterally altered format, a new format that curiously excludes participation by the voters,” Robbins wrote Rollison campaign manager Chris Peace.

“They offered and we accepted in part. A majority of what they offered, we accepted. I think that is more than acceptable,” Peace said. But he said they would compromise and have a question period with written questions submitted to a moderator.

Robbins said they would compromise from verbal questions and accept that format.

But on the date, Robbins said Frederick would not budge. They had intended to have two weeks notice before a debate to give public notice.

“We think Jack did this at the last minute to ensure a low turnout,” he said. “If they want to debate as badly as they say they want to, they can debate the following week.”

Peace said no other dates were acceptable to the Frederick earlier this month, and this double talk is to delay.

For the Coles and Occoquan supervisor races, the Prince William Area Young Republicans and the Prince William Republican Women’s Club are co-sponsoring a debate Wednesday at the Chinn Park Regional Library. The Coles debate is at 6:30 p.m. and the Occoquan debate is at 7:15 p.m.

The moderator for the debates will be Scott Hirons, chairman of the area Young Republicans.

Citizens can submit questions to [email protected]. Questions must be accompanied by the person’s name, address, phone number and e-mail so that they can be contacted for clarification as necessary. Names will not be released when the questions are read.

In the Coles race, incumbent Mary K. Hill is facing Marty Nohe.

The Occoquan race is for an open seat: Frank “E” Bolton, Mike May, Corey Stewart and Stephen Wassenberg are the Republican candidates.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.