1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz will not be participating in a candidate forum tonight put on by the Austin Tea Party group. Walz's Campaign Manager Richard Carlbom issued the following statement regarding the forum.
"Tim Walz will participate in forums organized by independent, non-partisan organizations. Today's debate, organized by the Austin Tea Party, is nothing more than a partisan political stunt."
The three other candidate's for Walz's seat are all planning to participate. They are Republican-endorsed candidate Randy Demmer, Independence Party-endorsed candidate Steven Wilson and non-party candidate Lars Johnson. The forum runs from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Mower County Senior Center in Austin. Forum organizer Cindy Stevens said participants will have the chance to write down questions on note cards. Three individuals — each representing one of the three major parties — will be on hand to ask the questions.
In an interview, Carlbom said that this same group had once had an empty chair at the front of the room with Walz's name on it when he did not come to an event while he was in Washington, D.C. voting.
"They have a history of trying to take potshots and gimmicks and we don't expect anything less tonight," he said.
Stevens said she had not heard from the campaign about whether Walz would participate.
"I am very disappointed that he couldn't bother to call me back and let me know, she said.