Gubernatorial candidates on the democrat side for governor have yet to hold a debate or forum together. Their recent attempt was canceled after Jim Hood had a scheduling conflict.
It was meant to take place July 17th with the help of the Jackson State Public Television outlet airing a pre-recorded forum of the top three democrat candidates speaking with a moderator.
With that opportunity gone, the two that wanted the debate to take place are calling out their opponent.
Three weeks out from the primary election, Attorney General Jim Hood, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith and Velesha P. Williams sit as the top three for the party nominee.
“We sat down and we strategized and came up with a plan,” Jacquie Amos of the Hinds County Democratic Committee said. “The county committee had criteria, certain criteria the candidates had to meet with that particular platform.”
When candidates Smith and Williams were notified of this forum they say they immediately they made time in their schedules.
“Yes, I was more than interested, because I had been pushing for and asking for a debate,” Williams told us. “And then the fact that it was scheduled I cleared my schedule because I thought it was too important not to.”
“I moved everything around, this issue is not new,” Attorney Smith said. “I was the first one to call for a debate many months ago.”
The Hinds County Democratic Party arranged for the candidates to each answer five questions from a moderator about key issues in the state.
“There are people out here in poverty still, education, healthcare, you name it,” Smith said. “Give Mississippi a lift, vote Robert Shuler Smith.”
“50th in Healthcare quality and 50th in Healthcare affordability, we can do better,” Williams stated. “One of my first things is to go get the billions that were left on the table to expand Medicaid, also protect Medicare.”
But candidate Jim Hood claimed to have a schedule conflict and offered to pre-record his answers ahead of time. Organizers denied that option so the attorney general backed out forcing the event to cancel.
“He feels privilege,” Williams claimed. “Has a since of privilege that he doesn’t have to participate without giving explanation of who he is and what he stands for and what he’ll do for Mississippians.”
“That is a slap in the voters face not to address important issues,” Smith argued. “While people are suffering every single day these career politicians just want to be elected.”
In a statement the Hood campaign sent they say “with only three candidates invited this threw up a red flag for the party not being neutral and discriminating other candidates. The Attorney General’s schedule is set several weeks in advance and we were offered no alternative date.”
The Hinds County Democratic Party said they will try again soon to hold a new forum/debate. Candidate Smith doesn’t see himself having time due to many invitations to speak to voters. But Candidate Williams told us she will debate anybody, anywhere, anytime.