Candidate Forum Shrinks as Some Decline Invitation, Knocking Out Others

When the League of Women Voters opens its candidate forum Wednesday in Dix Hills,  several Republican candidates, citing scheduling conflicts, won’t be on the stage. But neither will their Democratic opponents, who are barred from participating because league policy requires that at least two candidates face off. No candidate gets to debate an empty chair.

It is not unusual, the league said, for one or two candidates to be kept from the stage because of their opponent’s absence. But this year, because of the scheduling issues, four of them– First Congressional District candidate Nick LaLota, State Sen. Mario Mattera, Second District  Congressman Andrew Garbarino, and State Senate candidate Wendy Rodriguez– all  declined. That knocked four Democratic women–Bridget Fleming, Jackie Gordon, Susan Berland, and Monica Martinez–out of the forum. The league said that Mattera and Rodriguez had accepted the invitation but later pulled out.

State Assemblyman Keith Brown, who is running for re-election against Democrat Cooper Macco, and Assemblyman Steve Stern, running against Aamir Sultan, will join in debate.

The forum gets underway at 7 p.m. at Five Towns College.



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