To follow up yesterday's Range regarding the Republican no shows at last night's campaign forum sponsored by the NAACP, the Southern Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce and the Urban League, we talked earlier today with Chamber Executive Director Clarence Boykins, who helped organize the event.
Boykins said e-mail invites went out to Republican and Democratic candidates for state-wide offices — Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress — right after the primary. No invites went out to the state legislative candidates.
"All the legislative folks who attended last night didn’t get an invite," Boykins said about the 10 Democrats and 1 Independent who showed up — which included Terry Goddard for Governor, Rodney Glassman for U.S. Senate, and Chris Deschene for Secretary of State.
"We were surprised by who showed up. Even the mine inspector candidate was there, Manuel Cruz, and all various districts throughout the state and city. We were surprised they were there, but we welcomed them. We had met beforehand to decide what questions we would ask, and all of our questions were for the people we invited."
Boykins said he never heard from the Republicans who were invited - Gov. Jan Brewer, Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate John Huppenthal, Attorney General candidate Tom Horne, and Secretary of State Ken Bennett. Boykins said he heard back from U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' office, as well as Attorney General Candidate Felecia Rotellini and Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Penny Kotterman, who told Boykins they were unable to attend
According to Ken Moyes, campaign volunteer with state Senate candidate Frank Antenori, state Representative candidate Ted Vogt, and state Representative candidate David Gowan, the whole thing was "designed to be a set-up."
"Maybe it would not be the most receptive crowd," Moyes said.
When asked why it wouldn't be a receptive crowd, Moyes said, "I don’t know. That was probably a misstatement on my part."
Moyes also accused the forum organizers of fraud because they didn't explain to those in attendance that the Republicans were not invited.
Boykins said the first hour of the forum was reserved for Republicans, the second hour for Democrats and then questions from organizers. Since Republicans were not in attendance, that time was given to eight legislative candidates, including LD 28 Senate candidate Dave Ewoldt, a Green-turned-Independent.
Boykins said the campaign forum organizers would be happy to host a second forum for the Republican candidates who were not invited and all Democrats. Moyes said the three candidates he volunteers for would be interested in attending.
We e-mailed Huppenthal for comment, and called Brewer and Horne's campaign. When and if they call back with comment, we will let you know. We also have a few e-mails and calls out to LD Democrats to find out why they decided to show up, even if they were supposedly not invited.
Keep reading to see Boykins' campaign forum invitation.