5th CD Update: Hurt Ducks Debates, McKelvey Endorses Hurt

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    There were a couple of interesting developments today in Virginia’s 5th Congressional district, where Republican Robert Hurt and Independent/Tea Party candidate Jeff Clark are challenging Rep. Tom Perriello (D).  To begin with, here’s a statement from Perriello’s campaign regarding the endorsement earlier today by former Republican candidate Jim McKelvey of Hurt. Back in June, McKelvey said of Hurt: “I refuse to support him, he’s not gonna represent me.” So much for that vow, apparently!

    First, Senator Hurt pledged away his independence to Washington corporate interest groups in order to become the lobbyists’ candidate. Now, Jim McKelvey reveals a dozen more secret promises that this career politician made in backrooms, including a promise to abolish the Department of Education and vote against bills that fund our military and veterans. Who knows what else he’ll be pledging tonight in the secret Tea Party meeting? We won’t know — because instead of talking straight to voters in a televised debate, Robert Hurt favors back-room deals, as all career politicians do.

    In other news, with 3 months to go until election day, Robert Hurt is busy trying to duck debates with Rep. Perriello, most likely for two main reasons: 1) Hurt’s up big in the latest poll; 2) Hurt must realize that Perriello is a far, far superior debater who will clean his clock.  It’s amusing, though, how Hurt’s position has evolved over the past month or two.

    June 18: Perriello agrees to three-way debates; Hurt flip-flops.

    July 15: Hurt says he’ll agree to a 10% polling standard for the televised debates.

    July 18: Perriello proposes a compromise of two head-to-head televised debates, two 3-way debates. Hurt says no.

    July 30: Perriello agrees to the 10% threshold (inclusive of margin of error) in the debate proposal; apparently the Hurt campaign doesn’t like that idea, but “Sean Harrison, Hurt’s campaign manager, did not return a call for comment Wednesday on the station executives’ remarks and to explain Hurt’s position on the debates.”

    In the end, the bottom line is that Tom Perriello agreed to debate Robert Hurt, although perhaps not with a great deal of enthusiasm. Robert Hurt did not agree. Instead, Hurt has continued to duck, bob and weave; moving the goalposts so that he can avoid debating at all costs. Apparently, Hurt is terrified of debating Perriello on TV, and doesn’t think he needs to regardless, so he’s doing anything he can to avoid it.

    The big losers in all of this?  The voters of the 5th CD; Robert Hurt’s reputation, perhaps; and also, unfortunately, Tom Perriello’s chances of being reelected, since he would clearly benefit from debating – with or without the Tea Party candidate.  

    • VA Blogger

      Clearly, you have to know that your readership overlaps significantly with Not Larry Sabato’s. Ben doesn’t seem to think Hurt is “ducking debates” at all, but rather is trying to not elevate a candidate who has no chance of winning so they can siphon off votes. Which means Hurt’s problem isn’t with debating Perriello. If Perriello agreed to debate Hurt one-on-one, or God forbid, agree to the compromise plan of a hard 10% margin, we wouldn’t be having this issue.

      Second, in McKelvey’s statement I don’t see any references to the Department of Education or veterans bills. Did Perriello just make those claims up and hope no one called them on it, like he did with the debate claim?