Marino won't reschedule debate against Scollo
Due to scheduling conflicts, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino cannot reschedule Tuesday's debate with Democratic challenger Phil Scollo on WVIA-TV, which had been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, Marino's campaign manager said on Thursday.
Marino cannot reschedule the debate, because he is tied up addressing the effects of the hurricane, said Ryan Barton, Marino's campaign manager.
Tuesday's debate was the only debate that was scheduled to take place between Marino and Scollo.
In an email on Monday morning to The Daily Review, WVIA spokesman Douglas Cook had said that Tuesday's debate was cancelled due to "weather concerns" related to Hurricane Sandy, which was moving into the area at the time.
Cook said in the email that WVIA was trying to re-schedule the debate, but that the station had to wait for Marino to become available, since he was tending to constituents' needs during the storm.
Barton said Thursday evening that Marino is still busy addressing constituents' needs that resulted from the hurricane.
"Tom is busy touring the district, meeting with (officials from) county emergency services departments and dealing with the needs of constituents" who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, Barton said on Thursday evening.
Marino is "making sure that money is spent wisely" in addressing the effects of the hurricane, Barton said.
Marino "was elected to do a job, and he is performing that job, which is helping everybody affected by the hurricane," Barton said.
"We agreed to the debate (that was scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 30). Unfortunately, WVIA cancelled the debate due to the weather," Barton said. "Unfortunately, due to (Marino's) schedule (addressing the effects of the hurricane) ... we are unable to go forward with the debate. We can't control the weather."
Following the cancellation of Tuesday's debate, Scollo agreed to participate in a rescheduled debate, no matter when it would occur, according to a press release issued by Scollo's campaign on Thursday.
"This election is too important to let scheduling difficulties get in the way of a full debate on the issues facing Pennsylvania families and seniors," Scollo said. "Marino should step up to the plate and debate."
Scollo said he had challenged Marino to several debates, but Marino had only agreed to one debate, which was scheduled for Oct. 30.
Marino acknowledged that the Oct. 30 debate was the only one he had agreed to.
Marino explained that "when I was asked to do the (Oct. 30) debate on TV, we accepted and the TV people told us he (Scollo) hadn't accepted yet. They didn't know why he was taking so long." Marino added that when he ran for Congress in 2010 against incumbent Chris Carney, "I was given one debate by the Democrats."
"In 2010, Tom Marino called it 'shameful' when his opponent Chris Carney only agreed to one debate. Now he is giving the voters zero debates," according to the press release from Scollo's campaign.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.