Hmmm: Hoffman ducks debate with Scozzafava and Owens

I suspect the stated reason and the real reason are two different things, but whichever it is, this is lame. The only good reason to duck a debate is if you’re so far ahead of your opponent that the risk of showing up and stumbling into a bad answer is greater than the expected gain from showing up and doing well. That’s not the case with Hoffman; while Scozzafava may have faded, there’s no question that he and the Democrat, Bill Owens, are neck and neck. (In fact, Rove thinks Owens is likely to win.) So what gives?

Douglas Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, was in Plattsburgh on Wednesday but didn’t attend the forum in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium at Plattsburgh State.

Republican Dierdre “Dede” Scozzafava and Democrat William Owens both participated, before a crowd of about 400 people…

It was covered by about a dozen media outlets from local, regional and national operations…

Rob Ryan, Hoffman’s campaign spokesman, made comments to the Press-Republican about 30 minutes before the event that suggested North Country Public Radio’s involvement was the reason Hoffman did not attend.

“North Country Public Radio is the perfect venue to decide who is the most liberal candidate in the race,” Ryan said, adding that Hoffman would participate in a televised debate in Syracuse today.

Really? He was wary of taking questions from an adversarial outlet? That sounds like Obama’s argument against Fox News. Or … was he worried that he’d be asked more questions about local issues that he couldn’t answer, so he decided to minimize the risk by skipping tonight’s debate and focusing on tomorrow’s instead? I’d still vote for him over Scozzafava but I’m starting to see why party bosses might have felt uncomfortable nominating him instead of her.

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