(Elizabeth Crum) – A few minutes after I wrote that I had heard (from a source who has never steered me wrong, or I would not have posted it) that Gibbons and Sandoval were out of this Friday’s debate, Sandoval’s spokesperson, Mary-Sarah Kinner, called and said the only reason her candidate was not appearing at the Orleans this Friday was because KDWN had canceled the gubernatorial portion of debate (back in March, she said).
“That’s a lie,” said KDWN producer, Anthony Valdez, when I called to ask him about the situation. “It’s true that the gubernatorial portion of the debate fell apart in late March, but it happened because Gibbons said he was unable to make it, and then Mary-Sarah told me Sandoval would not participate without Gibbons there.”
“That is the only reason the debate was canceled, because we were absolutely prepared to go forward without Governor Gibbons,” said Valdez.
Valdez said Team Gibbons had initially been in limbo while trying to work out their schedule and that they had then informed him they had a schedule conflict and could not participate (this happened on March 19th).
“At that point, Mary-Sarah told me Sandoval was not interested in participating in the debate without Gibbons,” said Valdez.
But Kinner insists she told Valdez all along that if Gibbons did not participate, neither would Sandoval.
“Brian made it clear from the get-go that if Gibbons was not going to be there, Brian would not be there, either,” said Kinner.
“I’m sorry, but that’s not the way it happened,” said Valdez. “Sandoval’s team expressed interest in participating in the early stages, and there was no mention of it hinging on Gibbons.”
Kinner provided me with an email from Valdez, date stamped March 19th, stating that Valdez had just gotten off the phone with Gibbons’ campaign office and that the debate would be canceled due to a schedule conflict.
“That email was just a confirmation based on a conversation we had already head,” Valdez said. “A conversation in which Mary-Sarah said to me that if Gibbons was out, so were they. Gibbons being out meant the debate was not happening, and I knew that when I emailed her,” Valdez said.
Valdez said after he contacted Montandon to inform him that neither Gibbons or Sandoval would be participating in a debate, “We decided the right thing to do was to let Montandon still come and address the crowd.”
Montandon will speak on Friday after the CD-3 and before the U.S. Senate debate.