John Hall appeared Friday at a noon luncheon hosted by the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce in Poughkeepsie, where Nan and some of the staff sat and observed in the audience. After the event was over, Nan shook Hall’s hand on his way out and politely reissued her debate proposal, which up to now Hall has been either pretending not to hear or evading with a flimsy excuse. This time around, he stayed true to form, as the following video shows (be sure to watch through to the end).
He’s insisting on formal certification, for both of them? What does he think will happen? Hall himself is attacking Nan in the press and anonymous videos distorting her positions, and he is testing her strengths in his own polling. He clearly knows who his opponent is; he can’t have it both ways.
Hall’s protestations that he himself is not yet his party’s “certified” nominee, as Nan points out diplomatically in the video, is laughable, given that no Democrat anywhere is challenging him. Moreover, his reference to his Republican opponent two years ago is fairly telling. By his own account, Hall had him “worried that [Hall] wouldn’t debate him” during that election as well. This is what it’s come to: John Hall is citing his own pattern of stonewalling legitimate debates as he does the same to Nan. Fairly unseemly for a man who, as a challenger himself in 2006, made a spectacle of holding a “debate” with an empty chair, complaining that his incumbent opponent wouldn’t debate him.
John Hall is doing the people of the 19th District a disservice in depriving them of the opportunity to hear free and open debates between those asking to represent them in Congress. Unlike voting, debates should definitely take place “early and often”, and when Rep. Hall refuses to show up he only makes it more difficult for voters to make an informed choice. Then again, maybe that’s the point.