First it was New York State Senate candidate Pam Helming, who currently serves as Canandaigua Supervisor refusing to commit to the debate, which is scheduled for Thursday evening in Canandaigua.
The debate, which was planned to highlight the candidates being considered for the 54th District, was not going to feature Helming, after she called the move a blatant attempt by one campaign to portray her poorly in the media and with voters.
The latest candidate to back out of the debate is Lyons Supervisor Brian Manktelow, who says he repeatedly informed the organizers that he would not be able to attend due to a prior commitment.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Manktelow’s campaign said:
Brian Manktelow will not be able to attend tonight’s hastily scheduled debate. Candidate Rayburn’s staff was immediately and repeatedly informed that our campaign has a previously scheduled event; and we will be honoring our commitment to this group.
Brian’s word is his bond and he will not be bullied into backing out of an event that has long been scheduled. While he fully believes that debates serve an important purpose, a responsibility to one’s constituents must come first.
When Rayburn first issued the challenge for a series of debates, Manktelow’s campaign quickly and publicly responded his willingness to attend — with the caveat that preparations would need to be made promptly, as all are in the final push of the primary campaign.
We were informed of the debate in question on September 1st from a third party, who was promptly informed of this scheduled conflict. Nonetheless, Manktelow will be sending two of his representatives to the Canandaigua Elks Club to answer any questions on his behalf.
Rayburn will join Josh Durso on Inside the FLX on Thursday, which will be available here or in the video window below.