The Great Falls Citizens Association postponed its scheduled candidate’s forum Tuesday, Oct. 8, citing fears that outside groups were planning on disrupting the program.
The forum was supposed to feature Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34) and her Democratic challenger Kathleen Murphy. A shorter program, featuring Republican sheriff’s candidate Bryan Wolfe and a proxy presentation on behalf of Democratic sheriff’s candidate Stacey Kincaid, was also scheduled.
The night before the scheduled forum, the GFCA learned that the Fairfax County Park Authority had issued a permit for a demonstration at the event, which was to be held at The Grange.
According to the GFCA, this was followed by multiple e-mail campaigns from political groups asking for supporters to show up at the event early. They asked the Fairfax County Police Department for support in managing traffic and the anticipated crowd.
“Four hours before the program, with no assurance of police support, a decision was made that the unfolding event would not serve the community’s goals and would violate the ground rules for the event previously agreed to by the candidates and their campaigns,” reads a statement issued by the GFCA.
Members of the GFCA’s Debate Committee also expressed concerns that “verbal abuse had been planned both inside and outside the Grange.”
At least one group, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, had planned a demonstration for the outside of the Grange. According to their advisory, they planned to “demand Delegate Comstock stop hiding from her record on guns and provide clear answers to questions on universal background checks for all gun sales and guns in bars.”
The forum has been rescheduled to Friday, Nov. 1 at a time and place to be determined.
Ralph Apton, a member of the GFCA’s debate committee, said both delegate candidates requested the date, and the exact location and time will be firmed up this week.
More information, as well as updates, can be found at www.gfca.org.
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