HAMILTON, NJ – After a months-long debate about whether, when, or where to debate, it appears that an actual in-person public debate in the Hamilton mayoral race between incumbent Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede and Council President Jeff Martin is far from resolved.
Both candidates confirmed that they received a request from the League of Women Voters via email on Sunday, October 6 offering to host a event at the end of October just days before voters would go to the polls. But, the candidates needed to confirm their attendance by 10:00 am on Monday.
By Monday afternoon, TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville confirmed with both campaigns that no debate has been scheduled.
Martin said that he accepted the invitation to participate the day after it was offered. Yaede said that there were still unanswered questions as of Monday afternoon regarding the debate, so she could not unequivocally accept.
In emails reviewed by TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville, details of the debate were being discussed such as confirming a date and venue -- either at Hamilton High School or the Hamilton Public Library. However, the forum was called off late Monday morning.
“Mayor Yaede is thumbing her nose at the residents of Hamilton by refusing to accept the invite by the League of Women Voters. No one can contest the credibility or impartiality of the LWV but yet Mayor Yaede continues to duck a debate on the issues facing the voters of Hamilton,” said Martin.
Yaede told TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville that she was concerned about security for the debate and the set-up of video cameras filming it. She also said that she could not confirm her attendance at the debate until her questions were answered.
"The League of Women Voters is a great organization that unfortunately has been impacted by the bullying of the group of individuals who attend council meetings," said Yaede when reached by phone. "I can understand why the League may not want to move forward since they are seeing the current climate in Hamilton, so they could get things resolved."
"I can confirm that planning this debate is off. So many issues were up in the air such as security, location and taping, but we weren't sure that it was going to happen. There's only so long that we can keep things on hold," said Deborah Macmillan from the League of Women Voters East Windsor chapter who added that outside individuals were not a factor in deciding that the debate could no longer be worked on.
“I have accepted invitations from The Trentonian and LWV but yet here we are, three weeks to the election, and Mayor Yaede still will not address the voters of Hamilton face-to-face," added Martin.
Yaede declined to participate in The Trentonian debate.
"I have agreed to participate on WBCB 1490 a.m. on October 28. Jeff has appeared on his show before, so I would think he would have no problem participating," said Yaede.
The radio show is hosted Joe Fabrizi who Yaede confirmed is on the township's payroll as an inspector.
"When I appeared on the show previously he was not employed by the Township, it was before the Mayor hired him and started signing his checks," Martin replied.
The Hamilton Township mayoral general election is November 5.
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