The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara Would Like Everyone To Stop Lying, Please
by Alan Bedenko (@BuffaloPundit) - posted 12:30 pm, October 17, 2014
Former Higgins challenger and tea party activist Mike Madigan wrote an article for some website, claiming that the “League of Women Voters’ Mission [was] Subjugated to [Congressman Brian] Higgins’ Desires“. The idea is that incumbent congressman Brian Higgins is so fearful of “debating” Kathy “infected poors” Weppner, that he somehow strong-armed the League into not scheduling a “debate” between the two candidates.
Firstly, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara doesn’t do “debates”. What it does is host candidate forums, which it calls “meetings”. They’re not meant to be a way for candidates to debate each other, rather an opportunity for candidates to answer questions about relevant issues posed to them by people in the audience. In years past, the organizers circulate index cards so audience members can write questions down for the moderator to ask.
Recently, the League has stopped doing congressional forums altogether. There was never a forum scheduled for the NY-27 race between Chris Collins and Jim O’Donnell, nor was one ever set up for the NY-26 race between Higgins and Weppner.
Weppner partisans have accused Higgins of not wanting to debate Weppner – some went so far on the radio to call Higgins a “sissy”. Higgins, for his part, has debated his challenger in every available race, and this year is no exception. There will be a debate at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute later this month, so the Higgins-sissy meme is ridiculous.
Madigan made wild, flailing claims about Higgins being unwilling to “stand up to a strong female opponent”, and that unnamed “political observers” (read: Madigan) think that this informs Higgins’ “fear of a debate”. With Weppner’s campaign teetering between non-entity and joke, suggestions of Higgins being a-feared of Weppner is absurd. The notion that he would somehow force the League to not only cancel the candidate meeting for NY-26, but also the one for NY-27 is likewise a complete fiction.
Madigan suggested that the League was “playing defense” for Brian Higgins, suggesting that it’s trying to placate him as part of some fantastical quid-pro-quo, which would be hilarious if it wasn’t defamatory. So, I called the League and on Friday got a call back from Mary Ann. She was audibly upset over the phone about the Madigan article, and gave this prepared statement:
The writer of the article in the Buffalo Chronicle didn’t check facts with the League. The article contains inaccuracies. We will respond to the article soon. Thank you for your interest.
Incidentally, I asked the woman at the League with whom I spoke whether it was true that the reason why there is no forum for NY-27 is the same reason why one was never scheduled for NY-26. She replied that the reason was the same.
UPDATE: Late Friday, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara posted this as a comment to Madigan’s written leavings:
Congressional candidates were not invited to the forum that was scheduled in Amherst and noted on the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara website. Amherst is located in the 26th congressional district. We have limited volunteers and resources. However, both Congressional candidates have responded to the League’s Online Voters Guide powered by Vote411. We encourage people to go to http://www.lwvbn.org. and read the responses of both candidates to the questions we posed.
The League’s printed 2014 Voters’ Guide will be available in public libraries and throughout Erie and Niagara County early next week. It will have the responses to the first question for each county and state office as well as pro and con arguments for the three New York State ballot proposals on this year’s ballot.