Mr. Allan Head, Executive Director of the NCBA, has not responded to any of my inquires regarding his organization's decision to exclude Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dr Michael Munger from its upcoming debate this Saturday.
Mr. Head, however, apparently felt constrained to answer NC attorney, Lenoir NC city council member, and Libertarian T. J. Rohr, when he asked much the same question.
The entire exchange is reprinted at the Munger Campaign blog, but here's a taste:
Mr. Head: With regard to the annual meeting, 10 months ago we invited all announced candidates, Those coming accepted our invitation. I believe Dr Munger did not qualify until May 22nd. By that time we had confirmed the other candidates and firmed up times for our convention Saturday morning that is full of award recognitions, elections, a Judicial candidate’s forum, as well as gubernatorial and senatorial forums. We could not add another award or candidate if we wanted to. So, I hope that speaks to your concerns about the forum. We did not decide “…..not to include him,” by the time he contacted us, rather late in the game, there was not enough time to accommodate him.
Mr. Rohr's response:
Thank you for the quick response. I do have some questions regarding the statement that “10 months ago we invited all announced candidates, Those coming accepted our invitation.” First of all, to plan that sort of thing ten months in advance makes no sense. Ten months ago, neither McCrory nor Perdue had announced their candidacies. Perdue announced on October 1, 2007, and McCrory announced his candidacy on January 15, 2008. Furthermore, according to http://projects.newsobserver.com/tags/n_c_bar_association, as of May 21, 2008:
The major candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate will face off for the first time next month.
Officials with the N.C. Bar Association say they have received commitments for a forum at the group’s convention at Atlantic Beach on June 21, reports Rob Christensen.
A panel of reporters will ask questions of Democrat Beverly Perdue and Republican Pat McCrory, who are running for governor, and Republican Elizabeth Dole and Democrat Kay Hagan, who are running for the U.S. Senate.
Update: Bar Association officials now say they have firm commitments from Dole and Hagan, but that Perdue and McCrory have only indicated they are likely to participate.
Underlining supplied. It seems like you were willing to be flexible with both the Republican and Democratic nominees TWICE within your ten-month limit. The earliest they could have confirmed was 5/22/08, which is the day Dr. Munger qualified as our presumptive nominee. Can you explain the distinction?
And finally, Mr. Head's rejoinder:
TJ, you are absolutely correct, thank you for your research and appropriately correcting my misstatements.
So Mr. Rohr is right, according to Mr. Head ("I try to live what I say is important.”), but he's still not going to allow Dr. Munger access to the debate.
The image above, by the way, represents the Munger campaign's graphic response to their continuing exclusion from open political process in the Tarheel State.