Commonwealth’s attorney event likely to feature one candidate

A Henrico Commonwealth's Attorney candidates forum that was scheduled to occur Thursday, Oct. 27 is likely to include only one candidate after one withdrew and another said he had never been invited.

The event was billed as a debate by officials with Republican nominee Matt Geary's campaign, but independent candidate Bill Janis said he never received an invitation to the event and had only learned of it through an e-mail press release that arrived at 2:34 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 24.

“No one associated with the Janis campaign was ever contacted about or invited to an alleged debate," Janis spokesman Ray Allen said in a press release. "Period.  We received the same press release that members of the media received from Mr. Geary’s campaign announcing his so-called debate.  If one reads the release closely he admits in the release that they never talked to or communicated with us in any way."

Democratic nominee Shannon Taylor originally had said she would participate but late this afternoon announced she was backing out after learning that Janis had not been invited. In a press release, Taylor said that she had told Geary to invite Janis and herself in a formal fashion.

“I have the series of text message exchanges between Matt Geary and me all the way back on October 17 in the early morning where I informed him, in no uncertain terms, to make sure an invite was extended to Mr. Janis and documented," Taylor said in the release. "Moreover, two days later, on October 19, in response to a text from Mr. Geary outlining logistics for a debate, I explicitly texted him to please write a letter to both of us so I can respond to both of you. I am dismayed and disappointed that my advice was apparently not taken."

Citizen Publisher Tom Lappas was scheduled to moderate the event, but also withdrew after learning that Janis apparently had not received an invitation.

In Taylor's release, she suggested that the three candidates work together to find an agreeable time to hold a forum or debate prior to the Nov. 8 election.

"The citizens of Henrico deserve to hear from all three candidates," Taylor said. "Keeping Henrico citizens safe is a very important responsibility and the residents of Henrico should get to hear from all three candidates before they go to the polls to make their decision. “

Geary still intends to appear at the event, scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Room at the western government center, and answer the five questions that Lappas had prepared to pose to each candidate.
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