Photo: ©David Aimone Photography
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Calling it “a cheap political stunt,” a Democratic candidate for city commissioner of finance says she will not participate in an Independence Party debate with her opponent.
Primary challenger Patricia Morrison said she won’t attend Friday’s debate at the Canfield Casino with incumbent Michele Madigan because Madigan is endorsed by the Independence Party and the two candidates are running in a Democratic primary, not an Independence one.
“The thought that the debate sponsored by a minor political party that endorsed my opponent would be fair, open and honest would be laughable if not insulting to Democratic primary voters,” Morrison said. “Michele Madigan is doing a disservice to Democrats in this city by supporting the inappropriate involvement of a minor party in a Democratic Primary.”
Madigan, who has received $1,700 from the Independence party since 2015 and is also endorsed by city Democrats, said she will be there, regardless.
“I plan to attend, as this is the only candidate forum currently scheduled,” Madigan said. “It is an opportunity to allow people to come and pose questions to both candidates so they can learn more about where we both stand on issues that pertain to the residents in Saratoga Springs; and, as finance commissioner, how we ensure the strong fiscal management processes in place under my tenure.”
Madigan and Morrison said they tried to plan an event with the League of Women Voters, an organization known for hosting nonpartisan forums for candidates. Initially, they agreed on June 21 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs. Madigan canceled, she said, because she had surprise anniversary plans.
“They are no longer a surprise,” she said. “And regardless, the 21st, the Friday night before the election is way too late for a debate especially when the League started to organize this event in May.”
Edward Miller, chair of the Independence party who is also a city of Saratoga Springs employee, did not return Times Union call for comment on his committee’s debate. The live-streamed event will be moderated by the weekly newspaper Saratoga Today.
“It was important to me that a newspaper, or some other outside non-political entity, without political motivation be involved with posting questions to the candidates and also allow for the public to post questions to us as candidates,” Madigan said in an email. “While it is not the ideal candidate forum, it is all we have.”
Morrison said she was not asked about the event prior to its planning. She said she was only told the date and time by Miller.
“Eddy Miller organized the debate and personally chose the moderator and location without ever consulting me,” Morrison said. “I received an unsolicited email saying I was holding this debate with you or without you.”
She said Madigan has a conflict with Miller as Madigan signs his paychecks as a city DPW employee. She also said she is also disappointed by Madigan who is “allowing the tail to wag the dog.”
“I call on Madigan to refute the Independence parties meddling into the Democratic primary election with a hosted debate,” she said.
Morrison said she will have her own Facebook live event at 7:30 p.m. on June 19 where voters can ask her questions.
Meanwhile, former city Commissioner of Public Safety Ron Kim is outraged that early Sunday morning someone stole his Morrison sign on Martin Avenue and replaced it with a Madigan sign.
“Not only did they steal my sign, they stole my vote,” Kim said.
In a Facebook post, Kim said his neighbor “who couldn’t sleep and saw this individual creeping around” called the police. Saratoga Springs police Lt. Robert Jillson confirmed a trespassing complaint came in from that neighborhood. No arrest was made.
“I wouldn’t care if it was stolen, it was the fact that it was replaced,” Kim said. “The people close to her and how she views her office, as an entitlement, I’m aghast.”
Madigan, who was asked about it on Monday, said she knows nothing about the replacing of Kim’s sign.
“I can personally tell you I’m not skulking around anybody’s yard,” Madigan said. “I don’t know where Ron Kim lives. My signs are missing on Ludlow, Lake and Forest. So be it, we are going to put more out. I don’t want anybody on my campaign stealing signs.”