Winsley: What About Me?

As the presidential candidates prepared to debate Wednesday night, Wayne Winsley stood outside New Haven City Hall and said: What about me?

That same day U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro invited Winsley to a televised debate. Winsley,a Republican, is challenging DeLauro for the Third U.S. Congressional District seat.

WInsley said he won’t settle for just one debate. He wants at least three.

In front of about 15 supporters Wednesday, Winsley accused DeLauro of refusing to tell voters where she stands on the issues. He said DeLauro’s campaign has ignored his requests for a public debate.

Jimmy Tickey, DeLauro’s campaign manager, said the 11-term congresswoman will appear at two upcoming candidate forums. Tickey said he helped to set up a televised debate that he emailed Winsley about on Wednesday.

Winsley said a Congressional race normally has an average of four debates, but he’d settle for three. Tickey said a debate and two forums are plenty.

Winsley is a former radio host turned motivational speaker. DeLauro has held her seat since 1991.

On Wednesday afternoon, Winsley stood on the base of the Amistad statue outside City Hall and announced he had a question for the press and supporters who gathered for his event: “Is it really your job to go and search for the positions of the incumbent and the challenger, or should the incumbent and the challenger stand up on stage” and take questions?

The latter, a helpful onlooker called out in answer to the rhetorical question.

Without mentioning DeLauro by name, Winsley said “the avoidance of all joint forums is clear.”

“I’m here to say, ‘No more,’” he said. “And to say, ‘Yes, you deserve effective representation and by God, you will have it from me.’”

“This election is far too important for anyone to be given a free pass,” Winsley said. “We, the people, will not be denied.”

Winsley said candidate forums are not an acceptable response to his demand. “These are not debates,” he said. “Basically, it’s a meet and greet.”

Winsley said he had received an email about the proposed televised debate just a half-hour before his event. He said he would accept the debate. “I will be there.”

State GOP Chair Jerry Labriola (at left in photo) called it a “travesty of democracy” that DeLauro hasn’t debated Winsley.

“We’ve always taken part in forums and debates,” said Tickey, DeLauro’s campaign manager. He said that the congresswoman will be at candidate forums on Oct. 22 and 28 and that he has set up a “Face The State” televised debate with WFSB Channel 3 on a date to be determined. Tickey said he also approached NBC 30 about a televised debate and is waiting to hear back.

Tickey rejected the notion that voters don’t know DeLauro’s positions. “People know Rosa DeLauro.” She has office hours in every community in the district, he said. “They know her. They trust her.”

As for Winsley’s dismissal of forums and insistence on three debates, Tickey said “Forums are a great opportunity for dialogue,” and “to each his own as to what they think is a good number” for the amount of debates there ought to be. Two forums and a debate is sufficient, he said.

Tickey said DeLauro is running a full campaign. “We take nothing for granted.”

Voters seeking substantive debate on the issues can look to the Independent’s ongoing Third District campaign-issues series, featuring interviews with each of the candidates on a variety of topics. Two have so far been published, on the environment and on health care. More are on the way.

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posted by: Christopher Schaefer on October 4, 2012  10:06am

“That same day U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro invited Winsley to a televised debate.” He received the emailed invitation THIRTY MINUTES before this press conference! “at a date to be determined on WFSB-TV”. ! It remains to be seen whether the “date to be determined” actually happens. McMahon-Murphy: 4 debates, Himes-Obsitnik: 4 debates, Courtney-Formica: 4 debates, Esty-Roraback: 4 debates. What is DeLauro hiding that she only agrees to ONE debate “at a date to be determined”—and only in a TV studio? Winsley: “candidate forums are not an acceptable response”. CORRECT! “Voters seeking substantive debate on the issues can look to the Independent’s ongoing Third District campaign-issues series, featuring interviews with each of the candidates”. Interviews—with Winsley in a crowded office while an Independent staffer types in the background, and DeLauro in her opulent office—likewise is not the same as a “substantive debate”.  How would the public feel if Obama & Romney just had a “candidate forum” or an “interview”?  Candidates need multiple opportunities for a good smack-down. Let’s have it!

posted by: Anderson Scooper on October 4, 2012  11:24am

Winsley is sadly a joke candidate, worse even then Labriola in 2010. Does he even live in the district?

posted by: HooplaHeriot on October 4, 2012  1:01pm

With all due respect to Winsley..we get it. You would like a debate. Rosa said she would have a debate. You have received your free press. This is no longer newsworthy. Let’s move on.

posted by: Edward_H on October 6, 2012  5:49pm

To be honest the only reason I clicked on this link was to see Thomas’s photos. He also does outstanding work. Looking at his photos partly inspired me to purchase my first DSLR.

posted by: AgentRose on October 9, 2012  8:26pm

DeLauro declined requests for an interview.

Her campaign issued the following statement: “Being elected to Congress is an honor. I take every campaign seriously and work hard to earn the trust of the people of the Third Congressional District.

DeLauro declined requests for an interview.

“I have focused on such issues as job creation, health care, equal pay, nutrition and food safety. I will continue my efforts to rebuild our economy and the middle class, and to create jobs.”

DeLauro declined requests for an interview.

Winsley maintains that the state has not seen significant job growth since DeLauro, the senior congressional representative from Connecticut, has been in office.

“We’ve had no job growth for a generation,” he said.

DeLauro declined requests for an interview.

YUP she said it all—DeLauro declined requests for an interview.