Tea Party Forum to Host Republican and Democrat Congressional Candidates
Eight candidates for the NC 10th and NC 11th Congressional Districts have accepted invitations to participate in a non-partisan candidates’ forum on Saturday, January 28th at 1:00 p.m. at the Skyland Fire Department. There will be a Meet and Greet at 12 noon, giving the public an opportunity to meet the candidates personally. As an added benefit to the public, other candidates running for office at the state and local level who have either stepped up to the iCaucus Citizen Led Job Interview or who have committed, have been invited to attend the Meet and Greet at noon.
Republican candidates Dr. Dan Eichenbaum, Jeff Hunt, Mark Meadows, Vance Patterson, Kenny West, and Ethan Wingfield, all seeking the NC 11th district nomination to oppose incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler, will participate. Democrat Cecil Bothwell, who will challenge Shuler in a primary, will also be there. Republican candidates Spencer Campbell, Christopher Petrella did not respond to any of the three invitations issued. Shuler responded, but said he could not make the scheduled event.
For the NC 10th district, incumbent Republican Patrick McHenry responded by saying he had a scheduling conflict, but would send a staff member to represent him. On the Democrat side, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, who wants the nomination to run against McHenry, responded by saying she did not want to participate in forums until after her primary. Democrat Patsy Keever did not respond.
All candidates were given the option of sending a campaign staffer to represent them in their absence and to bring campaign materials for the Meet and Greet.
Asheville Tea Party chair Jane Bilello said the public was invited to hear the candidates.The public will be given an opportunity to participate by asking questions after all of the candidates have responded to the moderator's questions. “We hope for a big turnout of voters,” she said. “But we’re saddened that some candidates from both major parties have turned down this chance to explain their positions unfiltered by consultants or media.”
Bilello added that she hoped the event would help voters understand the Asheville Tea Party/PAC . “We are not a political party,” she said. “Or an arm of a political party. We are just citizens devoted to individual rights, fiscal responsibility, Constitutionally limited government and free markets.”
The forum will start at 1:00 p.m., but the fire department will be open to candidates and the public from noon on. Candidates will be able to set up tables, distribute literature and meet voters from noon to 1 p.m. for a Meet and Greet. The Skyland Fire Department is just east of the intersection of Hendersonville and Long Shoals Roads in Asheville.