Media asks: Where’s Sam Blakeslee?

July 24, 2010

The League of Women Voters is scheduled to host a debate Monday night at Cuesta College. All four candidates in the special state Senate election have been invited to participate. So far, only three are confirmed: Democrat John Laird, Independent Jim Fitzgerald, and Libertarian Mark Hinkle.

Republican Sam Blakeslee, thus far, has declined to participate, citing the need to stay in Sacramento and attend to legislative business.

Blakeslee’s low profile on the campaign trail is earning him brickbats from media outlets throughout the 15th Senate District, which stretches from Santa Maria to Santa Clara.

Friday night, television station KSBW in Salinas took Blakeslee to task in an on-air editorial by station manager Joseph Heston, who compared the Republican Assemblyman to the mythical whale Moby Dick.

“His campaign rarely returns our calls, never provides a direct answer to our interview requests, and as far as we can tell, Blakeslee hasn’t made any public appearances on our Central Coast,” Heston said. “Other civic organizations like the League of Women Voters are just as frustrated.”

Heston’s comments echo similar editorial positions taken recently by the San Luis Obispo Tribune, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the San Jose Mercury News, all calling for Blakeslee to debate Laird.

Blakeslee’s campaign staffers insist that their candidate is more than willing to debate–provided that the forums are held on Fridays, or weekends, when he can be away from Sacramento. They point to invitations Blakeslee has already accepted in San Jose and Arroyo Grande to debate.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Sam was in Santa Maria at a meet & greet at Etta Waterfield’s home on Sunday, the day before the debate. He can drop by for a a little glad-handing and pick up a few bucks, but can’t stay one day to attend a debate.

I’m don’t go for the “gotcha” argument re the debate host’s topic. I’ve been following local candidate debates for decades. If a candidate misses a debate opportunity, he loses a chance at favorable press. If Sam wants bad press, he’s certainly got it. Nobody likes a no-show.