The Freedom Patriots wanted to have a TEA Party and Mike Kelly knew the best location: his dealership. He offered the location then proceeded to set the terms for the PA-3 candidates. Each was able to give a timed speech. The order was to be determined by drawing names. The catch? Kelly would go last, regardless. Yeah, that's transparent.
Frankly, whether Kelly wanted to be magnanimous or not, any political newbie can recognize that having a "neutral" political rally at your business just smacks of hypocrisy.
Besides, a TEA Party rally at a corporate location? At a place that exemplifies government run amok? At a place that participated in Cash for Clunkers? Really?
Kelly should fire his consultant. Now. What a huge blunder. And now it has blown up in his face. It turns out that the other candidates have formally bailed on Kelly's party and set up a truly neutral location.
Here's the event info and letter from the candidates:
We the undersigned candidates for the May 18 Republican Primary for US Congress PA-3rd District have elected to rescind our invitations to the Tea Party proposed by Freedom Patriots to be held at 252 Pittsburgh Road Butler, PA on Sunday, May 2nd.
After much deliberation and mutual agreement, we feel that the location of the venue offered as courtesy by Candidate Mike Kelly to the Tea Party organizers presents a non-neutral setting for the other candidates to present themselves and their positions in an open forum.
The property for the venue is part of Mr. Kelly’s business we have come to understand, and in light of this fact we have mutually proposed an alternate setting for an open candidate forum.
The event will be held from 2 PM to 5 PM on the same day at a location convenient to attendees from the original event and others to come hear the candidates speak. The location also provides under cover shelter should the forecast for rain that day hold. This will be a no frills event strictly to inform voters, and Mr. Kelly is more than welcome to join this event and speak with his fellow candidates at a neutral setting.
We extend our sincerest apologies to Freedom Patriots for any inconvenience, and hope that they recognize the need for fair and open debate in all aspects of this very critical election cycle for voters.
The location of the PA-3rd Congressional District Republican Candidate Forum will be at:
Odd Fellows Gazebo
Butler County Parks and Recreation
184 Alameda Road
Butler, PA 16001
With Kind Regards,
(in alphabetical order)