Fall River mayoral candidate Paul Coogan was adamant yesterday during our interview that he will not debate write-in candidate and current City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros before the November 5th election.
I can’t blame Mr. Coogan for not debating anyone except Jasiel Correia (who has suspended his campaign). While legally Viveiros is considered a candidate by the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance, there is no requirement for him to particiate in any debates. If I were an odds maker, I’d put Coogan’s chances of winning on November 5th at 99%. His odds can only get worse with a scandal or a terrible debate performance. If I were Mr. Coogan, why risk a debate?
Mr. Coogan also pointed out correctly that Jasiel Correia was caught on secret audio talking about running an untraditional campaign that included up to three people running a write in campaign.
While Fall River deserves a healthy election cycle that includes debates, Paul Coogan doesn’t deserve the blame for the lack of debates. Yes, Cathy Ann Viveiros is a legal candidate, but there is no legal requirement for Coogan to participate in debates and debates will only benefit write-in candidates. How can you blame someone for not particiapating in an event that can only hurt you? Coogan is wise to keep his eye on the prize and coast to an easy victory on November 5th.
As of this writing, there isn’t even an organization officially hosting a debate. The main reason for this is debates take planning and Cathy Ann Viveiros didn’t even announce her campaign until October 16th, less than three weeks before the election. Viveiros is smart to call for debates, and Fall river Reporter would love to host one, but dont expect them.