Dem Virginia Rep. Spanberger backs out of scheduled debate over objection to conservative moderator

Many Democrats, including top allies, are finding it difficult to support and defend President Joe Biden amid his dismal approval ratings and the negative impact his policies have had on the economy and the nation more broadly.

Coincidentally, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) just revealed that she will not be participating in a debate scheduled for Friday against her Republican challenger, Yesli Vega, The Washington Times reported.

Given the short time frame remaining until the midterm elections in November, Spanberger’s abrupt decision to quit the planned debate quite possibly means that voters in Virginia’s 7th District won’t have an opportunity to hear the two candidates face-off against each other prior to Election Day.

Spanberger objects to conservative moderator

The Prince William Times reported that Spanberger’s campaign had cited “unresolved issues” as the reason for her withdrawal from the debate scheduled for Friday night.

Those issues were said to involve questions about the logistics of the debate, such as the distribution of tickets, and security protocols for the event, as well as an objection to one of the chosen moderators.

The debate moderator that Spanberger’s campaign objected to was conservative pundit and radio host Larry O’Connor, who they accused of being a “right-wing radio host known for spreading lies, hyper-partisan vitriol, and hatred against Democrats,” as well as displaying favoritism for Vega while disparaging Spanberger on his show.

Of course, no objection was registered for the other moderator chosen for the event, PBS “Newshour” correspondent Lisa Desjardins, who the Spanberger campaign described as representing “a clear effort to have an established, neutral and nonpartisan moderator,” in contrast to O’Connor.

Last-minute efforts to alter debate fall short

The Washington Post reported that the nonpartisan groups which organized the debate — the Prince William Committee of 100 and the League of Women’s local chapter — attempted to make changes to accommodate Spanberger’s complaints, but to no avail, and it was ultimately announced that its efforts “ended in an impasse over security concerns and disagreements over proposed moderators.”

Those efforts included a last-minute scramble to find replacement moderators for both O’Connor and Desjardins, who also backed out over her own objections to how debate questions would be handled, as well as to find a way to provide additional security to appease Spanberger’s concerns, but the Democratic congresswoman called off the whole thing before those efforts could be successful.

In a statement provided to the Post, Spanberger’s campaign said, “Due to the Vega campaign’s pressure to corrupt the Prince William Committee of 100’s efforts and stall the debate into nonexistence, with just five days to go before the scheduled debate, it became increasingly clear a debate was never going to become a reality.”

Spanberger “running scared,” Vega says

The newspaper noted that Vega has insisted that she played no role in the committee choosing O’Connor, and instead accused her Democratic opponent of “running scared” and refusing to engage in a debate.

That likely refers to the congresswoman’s perceived reluctance to have to try and defend the actions and policies of her fellow Democrats, including not just President Biden but also local elected Democrats in Virginia, according to the Times, who has proposed a law that would criminalize parents who decline to affirm and support their child’s choice or desire to change their gender.

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