The plot thickens…or at least more details are being revealed by Patriot United’s Brian Kelly about Establishment Sheriff’s candidate Andy Zinke’s refusal to debate Bill Prim at an event sponsored by the civic group.
Here’s what was sent in an email:
“Patriot’s United’s primary goal has and always will be to provide the public with
- transparency on policy
- issues and
“Although we are very disappointed that Mr. Zinke has, ‘through the advice of his advisors,’ decided to no longer participate in a Patriots United sponsored event, we are hopefully optimistic that Mr. Zinke will follow through and participate in a debate with some organization of his choosing.
“Several close friends of mine who are active in their support of Mr. Zinke, have been very supportive to have Mr. Zinke engage in a constructive public discourse with his opponent Bill Prim and were instrumental in setting up several constructive meetings between Andy and I over the last 6 months.
“These discussions allowed us to address his concerns regarding my support of his opponent and the advice he was receiving from close friends that an incumbent should not and does not need take the risk in debating his opponent.
“For the record, Andy has been very aware of my personal endorsement of Bill Prim since the beginning of Bill announcement in Sept 2012.
“After our discussions, Andy respected my personal decisions to endorse and/or donate to various campaigns and concurred that this has not tarnished my role in Patriots United – especially since several of Patriot United’s active sponsors are close friends with Andy.
“Even Rep Jack Franks has participated in several Patriot’s United events including the town hall discussion on the County Executive referendum on the 2012 ballot.
“Jack was very pernicious in voicing his concerns about my active role in the Republican Party over the years and the campaign donations that I have given to Mike Tryon – Jack’s counter point on this particular town hall event.
“These affiliations were all disclosed per Jack’s request and he still honored his commitment to participate in this public event.
“Jack also insisted on having an independent moderator manage the discussed.
“We complied with Jack’s request and were honored that Mr. Dan McCaleb – Senior Editor of the NWH accepted our invitation.
“It was one of the best programs we had to date and provided the public will solid arguments on both sides of the issue.
“It also showed the community that two publicly elected officials (Jack and Mike) can professionally disagree while being held accountable to their constituents.
“Since 2009 Patriots United has held many debates through various elections cycles including
- County Board
- Congressional race
- State Rep and
- the County Executive Referendum.
“Many other events have been focused more on policy and issue discussions. Until Mr. Zinke’s withdrawal from our planned Sheriff’s debate, no one has yet backed out of our events.
“So it is understandable why our Board of Directors is very disappointed in Mr. Zinke’s decision.
“I am hopeful that Mr. Zinke will listen to other supporters of his and take the high road that Andy believes is his hallmark, while serving under Sheriff Nygren and demonstrate what is the hallmark of the law enforcement profession – To protect and to serve.
“The Sheriffs’ office is the highest office of authority in the county.
“There are very serious issues that need to be discussed, especially given the many controversies that have plagued the Sheriff and State’s Attorney’s office over the last decade.
“Such a debate gives the candidates a chance to answer questions that pertain to
- experience and
“If there is nothing truly to hide, then there should be no reason not to face the public in an open and objectively constructed debate whether it is sponsored by
- Patriots United
- The League of Women Voters or
- the Northwest Herald.”