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Thursday night's City Council candidate forum did not end with closing statements about the vision candidates have for the city, but with a heated shouting match between council member Cecil Bothwell and Jonathan Wainscott.
The impassioned exchange occurred when Bothewll and Wainscott were debating the reasons why New Belgium chose Asheville as the location for one of its breweries. At the forum hosted by the West Asheville Business Association, Wainscott argued that the company came to area because of the economic incentive package. Bothwell, an incumbent city council member who supported New Belgium moving to the region, said the company came because of the quality of the water.
Sitting next to each other and literally pointing fingers at one another, Bothwell called Wainscott a liar and Wainscott told Bothwell that all he has is “sanctimonious bullshit.”
Watch the video of the forum, provided by Davyne Dial, above to see the argument. The dispute begins around the 1:37:00-minute mark.
Caitlin Byrd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 251-1333, ext. 140.
A statement from Cecil Bothwell's campaign:
"I would like to apologize to WABA, Mike Lanning, Gwen Wisler and attendees of last night's West Asheville Business Association Candidate Forum for my part in a heated argument which occurred. I'll do my part to maintain decorum in the future."
Wainscott's campaign has also issued a lengthy statement, reading in part:
"At a recent candidates’ forum, a heated discussion between the two of us escalated to a full-fledged argument. Upon the accusation of me being a “liar” by Mr. Bothwell in front of my community and family, I defended my honor as an honest man and candidate. The charge of dishonesty by Mr. Bothwell is thoroughly unfounded and irrefutably rebuffed by a wealth of video and written correspondences. Mr. Bothwell has apologized to Mr. Lanning, Mrs. Wisler, and the West Asheville Business Association, but his insistence that I am lying to the public has been neither substantiated nor apologized for. I have expressed my regrets to both Mr. Lanning and Mrs. Wisler in person for the awkwardness that the moment of my defense caused for those two candidates. For those present at the forum and those who have witnessed the exchange by watching the video, I too apologize for the unease this exchange may have caused you."
"I will not apologize, however, for defending myself against the false and egregious accusations levied by Cecil Bothwell..."