Says Lamontagne should hold to his own standard
MANCHESTER – Today, Kevin Smith, Republican candidate for governor, issued the following statement regarding gubernatorial debates during the primary election:
“I’m disappointed that my opponent, Ovide Lamontagne, has experienced such difficulty with his campaign schedule so as not to participate in the debate originally planned for this Thursday. New Hampshire voters demand and deserve the opportunity to fully vet their candidates, as opposed to having them anointed to office.
“So, I pose this simple proposition…beginning this month, will Ovide agree to at least one Republican debate in all ten counties throughout the state before the September primary, and that each debate be open to or viewed by the general public and the press?
“Ovide, himself, called for multiple debates in every county when he ran for office his first two times in 1992 and 1996. He of all people should appreciate the importance of giving voters a clear choice, and the opportunity to see and hear their candidates, side-by-side, on the issues. Will he hold to the same standard he set as a candidate twenty years ago?”
In 1992, Ovide Lamontagne challenged Bill Zeliff to a series of six debates, one in each of the counties represented by the 1st Congressional district:
“Lamontagne also called for a series of six debates, one in each county represented by the seat.” (Lamontagne Joins House Race: Calls Incumbent Zeliff “Insider”, Manchester Union Leader, p. 1, 4/7/1992)
In 1996, Ovide Lamontagne continued his challenge to Bill Zeliff to have ten debates throughout the state:
“Republican gubernatorial hopeful Ovide Lamontagne has challenged fellow candidate Bill Zeliff to debates in the state’s 10 counties. Lamontagne said ‘ We have a 45 point plan to expand the New Hampshire advantage and we’re running our campaign in all 10 counties. I believe people in our state would like to see a debate and we’re willing to do one in each county.’” (Confirms Reelection Bid…Lamontagne Challenges…, Political Briefs, Manchester Union Leader, p. A6, 6/5/1996)
Late in the campaign, Ovide Lamontagne continued to challenge Zeliff:
“Lamontagne challenged Zeliff to Lincoln-Douglas style debates. ‘When Bill Zeliff gets back to New Hampshire, I trust that he will heed the call of the voters and engage me in a debate on the issues.’” (Zeliff, Lamontagne Tangle Over Budget Proposals, TV Ads, Manchester Union Leader, p. A7, 8/1/1996)