Only two of five participating in District 106 debate
Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2016
The upcoming debate between candidates for the District 106 legislative seat has caused a debate of it’s own between candidates.
Out of the five qualifying candidates—John Glen Corley, Larry D. Davis, Greg Holcomb, Ben Winston and Daniel Wise—only Winston and Wise plan to participate in the debate on Oct. 11.
Corley and Holcomb said they were not interested or did not have time due to other responsibilities.
Davis said he would have liked to participate, but has a scheduling conflict.
Corley said he will not be participating because he believes his other campaign events, including speaking to chambers of commerce, city councils and other political groups will be more effective.
Corley said the debate was “not my style or direction,” and that debating was a “practiced and learned skill,” something he has no experience in due to being a newcomer to the political arena.
Davis said he was “more than willing to do the debate” but is unable because of a medical appointment organizers were aware of when the date was set.
He also expressed concern about the role of his opponent’s campaign manager in the event.
“I’ve done this all my life, I’m not scared to debate anybody. But, my problem is I cannot do it that night,” Davis said.
However, Davis commended the Young Americans for Liberty at Pearl River Community College for organizing the event.
“I’m proud that those young people are doing this and getting involved in politics, because that’s what this country needs,” Davis said.
Holcomb said he declined to attend due to a “tight campaign schedule, work schedule and family schedule.”
He said he plans to reach out to every age group by speaking at other events, including the Republican Women’s group later this month.
Holcomb meant no disrespect by choosing not to attend and appreciates their efforts, he said.
The candidates attending the event expressed their disbelief that others have chosen not to participate.
“People need to know who their candidates are. I can’t speak for them, but that’s what it’s all about, addressing the people that you want to represent,” Winston said. “I’m concerned about that.”
Winston said that despite the low attendance, he still plans to participate.
“If it’s still on, I’m going to be there,” he said.
Winston said he hoped the event would have a larger turnout, including city councilors, county residents and supervisors.
“If you can’t address the people that you’re friendly with, how do you think you’re going to address the people in the state?” Winston said. “You need to be sure that the people you are representing know what you stand for.”
Wise has volunteered to additionally answer questions directed toward candidates who will not be in attendance.
“I think it’s important that the voters actually get to hear the candidates speaking on the issues at a public venue so they get an idea of who is going to be representing them,” Wise said. “It’s one thing to go around and shake people’s hands and say hello to a room full of lawyers but standing up and speaking and debating laws…I think is an important part.”
In response to criticism that his campaign manager, Dalton Traylor, organized the event, Wise said, “They gave us the rules, I didn’t have anything to do with the rules.”
Traylor is also president of the Young Americans for Liberty group at PRCC, which is sponsoring the debate.
PRCC political science professor Jason Ramshur, who will moderate, organized the format, rules and questions.
Traylor said the questions were assigned at random to each candidate and provided to them two weeks before the event.
The debate will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 11, at the Brownstone Center at PRCC. It is open and free to the public.