Fleagle, Rock aren't likely to have debate

April 17, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Two candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the 90th district seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are not scheduled to debate before the May 16 primary.

Todd Rock and incumbent Patrick E. Fleagle have been in the same room together two or three times since campaigning began, Rock said.

Both had been scheduled to attend forums hosted by the Penn National Men's Luncheon Group and the Chambersburg Area Taxpayers Association later this month.

The luncheon group canceled its April 19 forum when Rock pulled out, said Chuck Vanucci, chairman of the forum committee, said.


The taxpayers association planned an April 20 forum for candidates from both the 89th and 90th districts, but canceled due to location problems and a scheduling conflict for 89th district incumbent Rob Kauffman, said Carl Barton, president of the Chambersburg Area Taxpayers Association.

"It got too complicated, and we didn't have enough time ... to have a good product," Barton said.

Judging by candidates' comments, it doesn't seem likely that 90th district voters will see a debate in the remaining month leading up to the primary.

Fleagle said he would "like a debate" and that "I'm willing to meet anytime, anywhere with anybody. I'll talk to anybody, debate anybody, any place on anything."

However, Fleagle, who is in his ninth term, also said there is a time crunch going into the primary.

"I can't tell people, 'I can't make your meeting because I have to politick,'" Fleagle said.

Rock feels it is more effective to campaign door to door and meet voters in their homes, rather than address groups.

"It's not that I'm not willing to (debate), but with four weeks to go, my focus is on my door-to-door campaign," Rock said.

He said he has met 5,120 people in their homes and has a goal of meeting 7,000.

"I've been to every area in the district. There's no place I haven't been," said Rock, a member of the Waynesboro Area School Board.

The Penn National Men's Luncheon Group is not a politically oriented organization, but scheduled the forum so homeowners in the Penn National golf course community near Fayetteville, Pa., could meet the candidates, Vanucci said.

Many of the Penn National residents recently moved from out of state, he said.

The Chambersburg Area Taxpayers Association is expected to announce its support of a candidate in the next few weeks, and the forum factored into that time frame, Barton said.

"You can't endorse a candidate if you're going to hold a forum ... until after the forum," Barton said.

He said the Chambersburg Area Taxpayers Association will probably try to hold a forum again, but he feels it is important the group changes its name first. The association is trying to become a countywide fixture instead of centralized to Chambersburg, Barton said.

Vanucci doesn't expect the luncheon group to host a forum in the future.

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