Giving no explanation, U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee unexpectedly dropped out of a scheduled debate with fellow candidate Cherilyn Eagar on The Bob Lonsberry Show (KNRS 105.7 FM), Utah's premier Conservative Talk Radio Show. Below is today's excerpt dealing with the unexpected exit.
We feel this last-minute exit will not portend well for Lee whose Constitutional assertions are already being questioned by his actions as he has been endorsed by GOP elites and illegal-immigrant-advocates Shurtleff and Armey rather than Conservative, teaparty grassroots organizations.
Shunning a debate is typically an anathema to the candidate who refuses. Consider what happened to Coakley in Massachusetts after she initially brushed off a debate with Brown because she thought she was so far ahead. We doubt Utahns like their candidates closeted; indeed our experience shows us they enjoy engaging and listening to their candidates' ideas--and even more so in a hot political climate such as we have now before us. Utahns want brave, bold leadership; not hide-under-a-rock abdication.
By his withdrawal from the debates, Lee demonstrates a weakness we had not previously noted. Perhaps Lee's entry into the race so late lead to campaign disarray and contributed to this misstep.
+++ Update 3/4:
Nacilbupera's post captured the attention of veteran UPI newspaperman Glen Warchol of the Salt Lake Tribune in his post tonight "Staying Right with the Far Right". (We're honored, Glen!)In his post, Glen reveals a phone call to Lee yielded what we deem the first official "official" explanation as to why Lee declined the debate: Lee wanted all candidates to be represented at the debate.
Lee's answer, of course prompts a pair of followup questions: (1) Why did Lee not insist prior to agreeing to the debate with Eagar that all candidates be represented? That is, what prompted this sudden change of heart? (2) Why does Lee communicate through the Left-leaning Tribune and not directly to Conservative media including: his would-be generous host Bob Lonsberry, an email or comment to Nacilbupera, or even through a public announcement on his website? Conservatives await further elucidation...
+++ Update 3/5:
- Cherilyn posted her feelings on the Lee duck at Redstate.com today; her response was funny. She claimed "Lee had a sudden attack of the vapors and backed out" and chided him: “to stand up like a man and debate me.”
- Campaign spokesman Dan Hauser claimed on Twitter that Lee had debated Eagar (he's referring to the Utah County Republican Women event) while dodging our question of why Lee withdrew. Maybe Dan should "stand up like a man" and answer Nacilbupera's questions, too!