Commissioners forum will only include those on the ballot |

Commissioners forum will only include those on the ballot

Members of the Armstrong County Chamber of Commerce debated about who should be invited to the upcoming county commissioner candidate debate.

Their decision was not to invite a write-in candidate Ron Covone to participate in the televised debate being sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 8 in cooperation with the Leader Times and Family Life TV.

Invitations have been extended to the four candidates who are on the ballot for the November general election. Participating in the commissioner candidate debate will be Democrats Jack Dunmire and Rich Fink and Republicans Jim Scahill and Patty Kirkpatrick.

Covone is not on the ballot, having lost by a narrow margin in the May primary. He has since started a write-in campaign.

“We looked at candidates who are on the ballot,” said Mick Livingston, Chamber of Commerce president, of the reason for not including Covone in the debate. “We’re not trying to exclude Ron Covone.

“We had to draw a line, be consistent and fair. If we opened it to one write-in candidate there could be many. We couldn’t have 10 people and the debate be meaningful.”

Livingston said that while there was discussion about inviting Covone, not inviting him was the unanimous decision of the board of the chamber.

Anyone whose name gets placed on the November ballot as either an independent or other party candidate would be invited to debate, Livingston said.

“I understand where the Chamber is coming from,” Covone said. “They have to go with the people who won the primary.”

Covone said he believes he can still get his message across to the voters.

“I can do it through getting out and meeting people,” Covone said.

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