Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sen. Al Melvin: Too Busy for Debates

Posted By on Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 9:58 PM

State Sen. Al Melvin (R-LD26)
  • State Sen. Al Melvin (R-LD26)
Republican state Senator Al Melvin declined a challenge by his Democratic contender, Cheryl Cage, to a series of one-on-one debates before the November general election, saying he can’t fit it into his schedule.

“I told her I’m busy,” Melvin says. “I’m going door to door.”

Cage, who lost the Legislative District 26 Senate race to Melvin in 2008 by fewer than 2,000 votes, says she thinks Melvin won’t debate her because he would have to defend his “abysmal” voting record.

“I mean, it’s completely against what the voters of LD26 want,” she says. “He voted for payday loan people to stay in business and 63 percent of our constituents voted against that. He voted 100 percent of the time against public education and we passed Prop 100 by a two-to-one margin.”

Democrat Cheryl Cage
  • Democrat Cheryl Cage
Though the two will not debate one-on-one this election season, they will attend several candidate forums alongside other legislative candidates in the coming months.

Besides those chances, Melvin says the voters can learn about the candidates on their own.

“I would encourage people to look at her website and look at my website,” Melvin says. “You know politics is education—there are many different ways for the voters to see the positions of the candidates.”

But you won't be seeing Melvin’s position on KUAT's Arizona Illustrated or in the editorial pages of the Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Republic.

Melvin says he and other southern Arizona Republican lawmakers are issuing a boycott of the major local media outlets until the news organizations hire at least one “center-right” person to their editorial boards.

“They’re totally slanted to the left,” he says. “There is nothing fair and balanced about it and we’re not going to be a party to it.”

Though they are still talking to reporters from the papers, Melvin says they will not have anything to do with the editorial boards—and will not participate in endorsement interviews.

“The outcome is so obvious from the beginning that it makes no sense for us to participate (in the endorsement process),” he said.

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