Meehan bows out of debate, cites 3d-party candidate

Posted: October 05, 2010

Republican congressional candidate Patrick Meehan on Monday night pulled out of the final scheduled debate of the campaign, citing the presence of a third-party candidate who was invited to participate.

Meehan faces Democrat Bryan Lentz and third-party candidate Jim Schneller in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania's Seventh District. Meehan and Lentz have met in four debates since August.

Schneller, who is running as the American Congress Party candidate, was not invited to the previous debates. The final debate, to be held by the League of Women Voters, is scheduled for Oct. 14.

Meehan campaign spokeswoman Virginia Davis said Meehan would not debate Schneller because Democrats, including Lentz campaign volunteers, helped get Schneller on the ballot. She said it had nothing to do with previous debate performances and called Lentz's repeated calls for more debates a "charade" by a "candidate who is desperate for additional media."

Kevin McTigue, Lentz's campaign manager, said Meehan was hiding after his last debate performance.

"Given Pat Meehan's incoherent performance in the Jewish Federation Debate, his campaign's decision to pull out of the League of Women Voters debate is no surprise," McTigue said.

Meehan has more than $1.5 million cash on hand, his campaign announced Monday. He raised more than $725,000 in the third quarter, which closed Sept. 30. At the last filing deadline, Meehan had outpaced Lentz in cash on hand by about $337,000, according to federal campaign-finance reports.

The Lentz campaign said Monday that it did not expect to release its most recent fund-raising totals until Oct. 15, the filing deadline for the Federal Election Commission.


Contact staff writer Joelle Farrell at 610-627-0352 or jfarrell@phillynews.com.

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