Apparently the Diana Maldonado campaign had to do some quick scrambling Wednesday in response to the revelation that the Texas House District 52 Representative has been avoiding open debate on political issues. By Wednesday night, they were sending out notices to lefty bloggers that included a copy of Maldonado's Calendar, which now shows scheduled debates. Their take? “See? See? She had it right there on her calendar!”
Unfortunately a copy of an electronic calendar doesn't prove much. The syndicated Lynn Wooley radio show invited Representative Maldonado to debate with Gonzales on air, but she claimed she was unavailable for the initial date. The show then offered 3 alternate dates, but she claimed to be busy on all three. Her campaign is now saying the show was too “Tea Party,” but that does not explain why she declined the Austin Community College invitation for a televised debate. The Round Rock Chamber Debate Diana suddenly has on her electronic calendar for October 5, is actually tentatively scheduled for October 14 during lunch at the Wingate, and has not been finalized. The wrangling over the terms of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber has been going on inconclusively for weeks.
Puzzled by the fact that he had never even heard about the debate at Southwestern University to which Diana claims she agreed, GOP candidate Larry Gonzales actually picked up the telephone to call the university to try to determine when and where this debate will take place. Officials at Southwestern were completely baffled by the question, and stated that nothing was on the college calendar. However, when Gonzales finally got in touch with the events coordinator, he was told that the College Democrats had contacted scheduling on Wednesday night to schedule a debate, while the Maldonado campaign is claiming it has been scheduled for weeks. The press release from the Gonzales campaign calling for debates arrived in my mailbox at 11:57AM Wednesday morning.
It gets better. The scheduler tells Larry that “one candidate has confirmed and they've talked to a least one other one,” and “they have talked to Gonzales.” Neither Larry nor anyone with his campaign have ever been contacted by anyone regarding a debate at Southwestern.
The truth is that Larry Gonzales is willing to have an unscripted debate anytime, anywhere, while Representative Maldonado has been evasive and/or making diva-demands regarding parameters. When called out for her tactics, it seems Diana Maldonado and her handlers scrambled together an elaborate deception to try to make Larry Gonzales look like a liar. Pretty slimy stuff.
Happily, the result of all this, is that now Diana Maldonado will have to agree to some real debates. I'm sure the Voters of House District 52 will appreciate the chance to get beyond the pre-worded statements into serious discussion of the issues.
News 8 Austin covered this story this evening, and confirmed that no debate had been scheduled at Southwestern University. Also of interest: regarding Larry Gonzales' request for unscripted debates, "Maldonado admitted she preferred less divisive settings." Of course she does.