The Republican candidate for State Senate District 33 says the League of Women Voters' assertion that he has backed out of an upcoming candidate forum is simply incorrect. His opponent says the absence is a calculated campaign maneuver designed to limit her public exposure.
David Osmek is running against the DFL's Judy Rogosheske for the District 33 seat being vacated by retiring State Senator Gen Olson. Both Osmek and Rogosheske, as well as candidates for several other offices, were invited to participate in an Oct. 9 forum in Orono.
The Wayzata and Plymouth chapter of the League of Women Voters issued a statement earlier this week stating that Osmek initially accepted their invitation to participate but has "now declined to attend."
"The league of Women Voters forum is traditionally an important part of our state and local elections, well publicized, recorded for later local television airing and with a live audience who can forward questions," Rogosheske said. "We are asked our availability months in advance, then must confirm our attendance a month or so out, in writing, before the event details are publicized."
Osmek, however, says his duties as Mound City Council member will prevent him from attending, adding he informed the League of Women Voters of his inability to attend over two weeks prior to the event when it "became obvious that my meeting would not be cancelled."
"Unforunately, I have a responsibility to the residents of Mound to perform the duties of my office as council member," Osmek said. "The Mound City Council meets in regularly scheduled sessions at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, and are clearly posted on our city's website. In the future, I would hope the League of Women Voters would review the regularly scheduled meetings of elected officials prior to setting events."
Rogosheske says she doesn't buy it.
"It appears that both Cindy Pugh (the GOP State House District 33B candidate) and Mr. Osmek have now decided not to participate, which is unfortunate for the voters and our community," Rogosheske said. "I believe it a strategic move by them and their campaigns, and can only conclude that Mr. Osmek does not wish to appear with me in such a live and well attended forum where voters can take the measure of us."
Osmek says he did participate in a League of Women Voters forum prior to the Aut. 14 primary and offered to participate in a rescheduled event.
State Senate District 33 includes all of the communities ringing Lake Minnetonka, as well as Maple Plain, Independence, Plymouth, Loretto, St. Bonifacius and the northwest portion of Minnetonka.
Next week's candidate forum will go on without Osmek, and Rogosheske will be in attendance to talk with voters.
Event details are as follows:
- When: Tuesday, Oct. 9 2012
- Where: Orono City Hall
- Who: 7-7:30 p.m.—Minnesota House 33A candidates Jerry Hertaus (GOP) and Todd Mikkelson (DFL); 7:40-8:40 p.m.—Orono City Council candidates (2 seats open) Kristi Anderson, Doug Franchot, Lizz Levang and Dennis Walsh.