BY FAIMON A. ROBERTS III
Advocate staff writer
October 23, 2012
A mayoral candidate forum hosted by Baton Rouge’s League of Women Voters scheduled for Tuesday night was abruptly canceled Monday after the two main candidates reported scheduling conflicts.
Representatives from the campaigns of Mayor-President Kip Holden and Metro Councilman Mike Walker said they only learned the forum had been scheduled in the last few days and already had committed to attend other events.
“I am sort of disturbed about it,” league President Jean Armstrong said. “We will say there was a misunderstanding.”
Rannah Gray, a campaign adviser to Holden, said Holden originally agreed to appear at an Oct. 23 forum Armstrong had said would be sponsored by a coalition of organizations, including the League of Women Voters.
A representative of the coalition later told Gray that the League of Women Voters had withdrawn from the coalition and that the coalition had decided against hosting a forum, Gray said. She said it was cleared from Holden’s schedule and the mayor committed to appear at a candidate forum hosted by Delta Sigma Theta at Southern University.
Chris Boudreaux, who works for Walker’s campaign, said the campaign wasn’t aware until the league sent out a news release in the past week that Walker was listed as a forum participant. Boudreaux said he contacted Armstrong as soon as he saw the news release to let her know Walker would not be able to attend.
Armstrong said she thought she had an understanding with both camps.
The two no-party candidates running for mayor, businessman Gordon Mese and attorney Steve Myers, said they were disappointed no forum will be held.
“There seems to be a conspiracy to keep people from hearing the voices of the candidates for mayor-president of East Baton Rouge Parish,” Mese said.
Myers said not having debates hurts voters.
“The only ones who get cheated here are the public,” he said.