State Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) has agreed to four candidate forums to be held before the end of early voting.
“I am glad that Mr. Merritt has finally decided he is willing to attend a public candidate forum with me,” said Rep. Simpson. “Despite multiple attempts two years ago to set up a public forum for voters, Mr. Merritt refused at every turn.”
“I certainly want as many opportunities as possible for the voters to know the differences between Mr. Merritt and myself,” Rep. Simpson continued.
The Simpson’s campaign wonders as to why four forums during the last week of early voting.
“It strikes me as odd that Mr. Merritt wants to wait until a large percentage of people have already voted before he appears in public,” said Rep. Simpson’s campaign manager, Ryan Mauldin.  “What does he have to hide?”
In addition, Merritt’s proposal suggests the public purchase tickets to attend.
“The idea of charging local families to hear politicians speak is ludicrous. The purpose of a public forum should be to give all voters the opportunity to get to know those who would represent them,” said Simpson. “Charging for entrance only impedes voters’ ability to evaluate candidates.”
According to Mauldin, Simpson’s campaign has no plans of charging people to an event that should be free.