By Robert Nathan
Killeen Daily Herald
A looming deadline and declined RSVP from a congressman up for re-election will likely result in the cancellation of a candidate forum that had been scheduled to air on a local television station before the Nov. 7 general election.
KNCT-TV invited the District 31 candidates in mid-August to participate in a televised election forum, but the station said it would not produce the program if one of the three candidates was unwilling to participate. Democratic challenger Mary Beth Harrell and Libertarian Matt McAdoo accepted the offer to participate, but a response from U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, has not been received, KNCT-TV officials said.
"Right now, we've only received two and we need three," said Max Rudolph, KNCT-TV general manager. "At this point right now, without the third one, the program will not be aired."
Carter's press secretary, Amy Ellsworth, said the congressman comes home and talks to constituents throughout Central Texas every weekend. She said he's held more than 20 town hall meetings and four telephone town hall meetings this year that have allowed him to interact directly with more than 40,000 constituents.
"Interacting with constituents throughout the 31st District is Congressman Carter's number one priority, and the KNCT-TV debate does not fit his scheduling plan," Ellsworth said.
Harrell and McAdoo disagree, suggesting the long-time congressman's lack of participation is intentional and shows arrogance towards his opponents.
"He's sabotaging the whole process by refusing to go," said Harrell, a Killeen attorney. "He's not answering to the voters and he's deliberately sabotaging the process."
McAdoo, a computer technical support specialist, said Carter's actions are "a little arrogant" because it shows a discourse between the other two candidates.
"Any kind of refusal to debate or show up at candidate forums or anything like that – that is not giving everybody their money's worth," McAdoo said.
Rudolph said if all three candidates were willing to participate, the candidate forum would be recorded in early October and would likely air the week of Oct. 16.
"At this point we're reaching the time that we're going to have to set taping dates fairly quickly," Rudolph said. "We're quickly approaching a deadline for planning purposes."
Contact Robert Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org