“Last night there was a HD-33 debate in Purcellville sponsored by the Purcellville Gazette. The Gazette contacted our campaign last week asking if Dave could participate in the debate, but we explained that Dave had a scheduling conflict and could not be there. We offered that Dave might be able to participate on a later date, but the Gazette went ahead with promoting and holding their event knowing that Dave could not be there.”
~ David LaRock’s campaign website
The Purcellville Gazette would like to make clear its position regarding claims made by the David LaRock campaign about our campaign forum held Wednesday evening, October 16th, at the Carver Center in Purcellville.
Mr. LaRock’s campaign manager, Daniel Davies, was directly asked on the telephone on Tuesday, October 8th whether they were declining to attend the October 16th forum. Mr. Davies refused to rule out Mr. LaRock’s participation, telling an editor they might be able to attend the event, schedule permitting. When offered the opportunity on multiple occasions to provide a specific date that would work for the campaign, Mr. Davies said no such dates were available and that any participation would have to be considered based on a “cost-benefit analysis.”
In clear terms: When the LaRock campaign was asked to say “yes” or “no” regarding participating in our 33rd district campaign forum, they responded with a “maybe.” When offered the opportunity to provide an alternative date for the forum, they declined to provide one.
To come out after our well-attended public event and suggest we misled readers about Mr. LaRock’s participation, is unfortunately consistent with his campaign’s behavior regarding public debates. As with the Berryville forum, in which he refused to attend at the last minute claiming it was a “set-up,” and also with the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce’s forum, in which he refused to even contribute written answers to the Chamber’s standard Q&A, Mr. LaRock has shown contempt for the basic mechanisms of the democratic process.
To suggest the Purcellville Gazette misled our readers when, in fact, Mr. LaRock was side-stepping his opponents in public, is disappointing.
Even still, we welcome the LaRock campaign to provide us with a specific date and time in which he would be willing to engage in a public debate with the candidates of the 33rd district. Nothing would please us more than to inform our western Loudoun readers that a forum will finally be held before the election that will give voters an opportunity to hear Mr. LaRock state his positions publicly. This is his opportunity to say to Loudoun County voters, “I’m willing to stand up for and defend my views in public.”
The ball is in your court, Mr. LaRock.