Home 2016 elections Cowardly Bob Goodlatte Agrees to Just One Debate with Dem Opponent Kai...

Cowardly Bob Goodlatte Agrees to Just One Debate with Dem Opponent Kai Degner


Bob Goodlatte, who pretends to “represent” Virginia’s 6th congressional district, the guy who originally promised that he would emulate his predecessor, Democrat Jim Olin, and only serve five terms, is now running for his 13th term in Congress. This year, Goodlatte’s Democratic opponent is Kai Degner, a member of the city council of Harrisonburg who was that city’s mayor from 2010 to 2012. Degner has been holding meetings around the district so that citizens can learn about his progressive platform and also has been lobbying Goodlatte to hold debates throughout the district so that voters can judge for themselves the differences between the candidates. Goodlatte, political coward that he is, unilaterally announced one – just one – debate in Lynchburg on October 17 at noon at the E.C. Glass Auditorium. (Note that date is a Monday, at noon. That pretty much eliminates working people from the audience, doesn’t it?)

There is a one huge problem with this October 17 debate. Evidently, Goodlatte’s campaign announced that a debate would take place then without confirming it with the Degner campaign. According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, the Goodlatte campaign failed to clear the date with Degner who has a prior obligation on that date. Degner said he received an email from a government teacher at E. C. Glass last Friday at 8 p.m. while at a fundraiser and said he had no time to read and respond before Goodlatte’s announcement was made hours later. No one from the Goodlatte campaign confirmed the time and date with Degner’s campaign before sending out a press release.

This whole thing smacks of a set-up to make Kai Degner look bad and possibly to avoid a debate. I suppose Goodlatte picked Lynchburg and the middle of a work day in hopes that his buddy and fellow Donald Trump supporter, Jerry Falwell, Jr., can pack the place with students from Liberty University. The location is certainly not central to the district, being at the southern-most, eastern-most portion of the gerrymandered 6th district.

In hopes of getting Goodlatte (known in some Democratic circles as “Badlatte”) to agree to 3 to 5 debates throughout the large district, the Degner campaign has given multiple dates to Goodlatte in the past. I’m sure, however, that Goodlatte, the political coward he is, will turn down any further debates, other than the one that may or may not take place in Lynchburg.

All these shenanigans are vintage Goodlatte. Years ago, I stopped attending the “town hall” meetings Goodlatte holds around the district as yet another election nears. Every time, he only calls on selected people in attendance, people he knows will ask questions he wants to answer. I also stopped communicating with his office about specific issues. Whenever I did, I just got a form letter back that didn’t address the issue I was bringing up. The mixup about the debate time and place may be just that, a mixup, but I doubt it. Goodlatte never wants to defend his non-productive time in Congress, nor does he want anyone to question his role in insuring that no meaningful legislation will come out of the House Judiciary Committee as long as he’s its chair.

The time has long passed for voters to get Goodlatte out of Congress and get themselves real representation in the 6th. Kai Degner can bring that representation. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the Kai Degner for Congress campaign can donate at: kaiforcongress.com.

  • I’ve got a big problem with Goodlatte’s support of SOPA (this went down in flames), but let’s face it.

    Goodlatte is completely safe in this race and his best political strategy is to completely ignore Degner.

    • Goodlatte may be safe due to incumbent-protection gerrymandering, but his abysmal record absolutely deserves to be aired out for the public to evaluate.

    • Andy Schmookler

      My agreement with Lowell on this I would put in these terms: it is clearly in the interest of Goodlatte-the-representative to just coast to re-election, but elections are not supposed to be about the interests of the politicians but about the interests of the people from whose consent the government draws its just powers. It is a betrayal of the voters to deprive them of an opportunity to compare their choices, side by side.

      • Elaine Owens

        Andy, you give Goodlatte too much credit by calling him the “Goodlatte-the-representative.” Here’s an example of why I detest Bob Goodlatte. When Jim Webb was in the Senate, on a couple of occasions I contacted his office about issues. Each time I received a reasoned response giving me a rationale for why Jim Webb voted the way he did. I didn’t agree, but I accepted that I had a representative who was doing his job for constituents. In contrast, every time I have contacted Bob Goodlatte, whether by calling his office in Roanoke or by letter to his office in D.C., I get back a form letter that is unrelated to my query but full of his arguments for some pet project of his…whether the ridiculous “balanced budget amendment” or his views on internet commerce. He represents the people who pay him through campaign contributions, the NRA, and his right-wing sycophants . Oh, and a big salute to you, Andy, for running against him. Good job! That year, I was able to vote for Congress. This year, again, I will have a choice. The 6th District may be gerrymandered to make it very Republican, but it’s only when people like you and Kai Degner run for office that we will chip away at the wall of tradition keeping the 6th from progress.

        • I’d say that BADlatte actually MIS-represents the voters in his district very badly.

        • Andy Schmookler

          I certainly did NOT mean to give Goodlatte any credit by calling him “Goodlatte-the-representative.” My intent was quite the contrary: my point was that Goodlatte is not supposed to be in this for himself, but to be responsible for the role with which he has been entrusted by the people of this district to REPRESENT THEM.

          And, Elaine, let me just close by thanking you for your appreciation of my running against Goodlatte. As you’ll recall, my campaign slogan was “Truth. For a change.” and I did my best to use truth as a kind of kryptonite against our local party hack. In a rational and healthy political system, no one like Goodlatte, and no party like the Republicans, could prosper with such a cavalcade of lies such as they wield.

          And now the GOP has come to the extreme climax of their culture of falsehoods with a candidate for whom the distinction between the truth and the lie does not even register.

      • In an ideal world, you’re right. But I don’t expect Bobby Scott to agree to a sweeping series of debates against whoever the Republicans are running against him (it’s not worth the time for me to know who it is).

        Did Don Beyer do the same thing against that Micah Edmond guy two years ago?

  • Scott Craig

    Bought-and-paid-for scum. No longer vote because of him