McClintock backs out of proposed Tahoe debate, cites endorsement of opponent by event organizer
September 11, 2018
Tom McClintock, Republican incumbent and candidate for California's 4th congressional district, announced he will not participate in a planned debate in the Lake Tahoe area.
McClintock and his opponent, Democrat Jessica Morse, had agreed to a debate to be hosted by the Sierra Business Council and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
Jon Huey, McClintock's campaign manager, cited a personal endorsement and campaign contributions made to Morse by Steve Frisch, president of the Sierra Business Council, as the reason for pulling out of the debate.
"It was brought to our attention that the debate organizer had not only endorsed our opponent, but had made multiple donations to her campaign and did not disclose these facts to our campaign," Huey said in an email. "Unfortunately, these facts required us to reevaluate our participation and a decision was made to pursue debate opportunities elsewhere," he said.
In a new release, the Sierra Business Council stated Frisch had been transparent about his endorsement of Morse in a phone call to Huey in late July.
According to Federal Election Commission filings for the period of Jan. 1, 2017 to Sept. 11, 2018, Frisch made four contributions of $200 each, totaling $800, to the Jessica Morse for Congress campaign.
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"The McClintock campaign characterization of the candor of Mr. Frisch and their characterization of the events leading up to their cancellation of the event are patently false," the release read.
"The voters of this community deserve better than a congressman who hides from his constituents and refuses to defend his record," said Makaiah Mohler, deputy campaign manager for Morse.
"Clearly Tom McClintock is not the champion of small business that he claims since he refuses to participate in a debate hosted by the Sierra Business Council and North Lake Tahoe Resort Association," Morse said in a statement.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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