Armstead Shuts Down Cosby-Proposed Debate Forum in Bitter Linden Email Chain

A candidate-proposed Facebook Live forum for the Linden mayoral contenders fell apart today when Mayor Derek Armstead bitterly denounced rival Rhashonna Cosby in an email chain.

Running for mayor in a three-person contest in the June 5th Democratic Primary, Cosby this week reached out to Armstead and fellow challenger Gretchen Hickey in an attempt to set up a debate forum.

“I am making myself available to the public for an interactive live broadcast via Facebook. I invite each of you as candidates to join me in addressing the members of the public just days prior to the most important election for Mayor in our city’s history,” Cosby wrote.

“The public has right to address each candidate and each candidate should be willing to share details about his or her record, experience and plans if elected as Mayor,” added the 5th Ward Councilwoman. “If this time is not agreeable, perhaps June 1 or June 3 at either of your already scheduled public events would work better.”

Hickey responded in an email.

“I would accept your invitation under to following terms: All three mayoral candidates agree to participate,” she said, “[and] all three campaigns meet to appoint a neutral member of the local news media to moderate the forum and maintain a fair discussion.”

Hickey also said she would agree to the forum if it is broadcast on a neutral Facebook page.

“I further propose that a meeting between campaign mangers be held to discuss the details and come to an agreement on all other details that may arise before the forum,” the 10th Ward Councilwoman added.

Armstead, for his part, objected to the proposed forum.

“As you may recall in 2014 you ticket was Rhashonna Cosby-Hurling for Mayor and Jorge Alvarez for Council President,” the mayor wrote, referring to the 2014 contest when he beat Cosby in the Democratic Primary. “Both of you were supported at the time by the Linden Democratic Committee, now the ticket seems to be Gretchen Hickey for Mayor and Jorge Alvarez for Council President being supported by the Linden Democratic Committee and you as the spoiler candidate for Mayor.  Your candidacy is not a serious one you are just a tool of the political bosses.  You are a SPOILER sent to siphon off votes from OUR community.  

“Since I have become Mayor you have done nothing but attempt to block every initiative that I have presented to move Linden forward at behest of your political bosses and associates,” Armstead added. “Therefore in this 11th hour there is no need to hold a public forum. I have been speaking to the public everyday and a forum at this time is not necessary.  Besides Facebook is not the place I would like to hold a forum as there are many that don’t subscribe.” 

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