Yesterday, it was discussed on here that the Wisconsin GrandSons of Liberty was hosting a candidate forum for the 6 candidates running for 2 posts on the Franklin School Board that evening. It was also mentioned that the GrandSons of Liberty is, more or less, an organization that follows similar principles to that of the national TEA Party movement. This was important to mention due to what ended up transpiring last night. Out of the 6 candidates, only 2 attended the event and answered questions.
The two candidates that attended were Janet Evans, one of the two incumbents, and Aimee Schleuter, one of the four challengers. The four not in attendance were Judith Bialk (inc.), Donald Petre, John Paul Thompson and David Works. Choosing not to attend a candidate forum before an election event is significant, regardless of which organization or group is hosting it. Yesterday's post on here closed with the assertion that I believed the forum would have been held with little bias or slant, despite the hosting organization's possible leanings.
Having been a candidate for alderman in 2010, and being a participant in one of their candidate forums, I felt the GrandSons of Liberty did a decent job of keeping the focus on issues rather than partisan politics. However, I did notice that this forum was an open one, where the questions came from the audience rather than pre-determined questions from the hosting organization. It leads me to the assumption that the 4 candidates didn't want to attend a forum where they'd have to answer questions on the spot from the audience. Such a situation could become a hostile environment for the candidates, especially if those candidates don't necessarily share similar stances with the primary audience/base of an organization sharing similar views with the TEA Party.
While the 4 candidates have been chastised on two Franklin blogs last night, I believe it's fair to view this from the other perspective as well. For the sake of argument, let's say you're a Republican. How would you feel if a Democratic-leaning organization is hosting an open candidate forum, and several of your opponents show signs that they lean Democratic? Some might be fine with heading into that, while others would point out the "lion's den" mentality and deem it a waste of their time.
As far as I'm concerned, the issues are what stand out to me prior to my vote being cast, not whether or not candidates were able to squeeze out time to attend a forum that, simply put and regardless of my feelings, did have the right ingridients to become a less-than-positive event for one or more of the candidates.