This is getting ridiculous. Rep. Tom Marino cancelled a radio show appearance scheduled for Monday because the station wouldn’t refuse his opponent the opportunity to call in.
The freshman Republican also refused to reschedule a debate earlier this week, meaning the two will not have squared off during the campaign.
After learning that Democratic challenger Phil Scollo would be free to call in to a program during a news radio WKOK segment Monday, Marino pulled out.
Marino’s spokesman said, “There just isn’t anything in it for us. We have nothing to gain by talking to Scollo.” Presumably with a straight face, he said if Marino were on the program after the election, they would be willing to take a call from Scollo, according to WKOK.
Mark Lawrence, program director and host of On The Mark said it’s too bad, “It’s a shame really. Scollo is one of Marino’s constituents and the open phones segment is just that–open.” He said, “Marino misses a big opportunity to boast of his record, and defend votes. He would rather hide, than face his opponent for three minutes.”
It’s true that debates present a better opportunity for challengers than incumbents – that’s part of the reason Marino vocally called for a series of debates in 2010 and criticized his opponent for only agreeing to one.
A debate scheduled for Tuesday was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, but Marino refused to reschedule.
“Tom is busy traveling the district, meeting with voters and working with county emergency services departments to tend to the needs of our constituents,” Campaign Manager Ryan Barton told PoliticsPA.
Marino is a heavy favorite to win re-election. Even a gaffe of the highest magnitude on Monday wouldn’t have time to make news – let alone affect the outcome of the race. The tactical benefit of avoiding his opponent might actually be outweighed by the cost he’ll pay with negative local press. Editorial boards and talk radio hosts tend to remember this type of decision.
For comparison sake, every other incumbent Republican congressman in Pa. has debated his opponent this cycle – including some held after Sandy.
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), the most vulnerable GOPer, has debated three times. So has Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne). Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) debated twice. Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-Chester), Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) have debated once. Even Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny), who is historically very stingy with debates, has faced his opponent twice.
Just what my district needs. Another 2 years of a Congressman with no political courage at all. Marino talks tough but runs scared.
For someone who claims to be such a tough guy, Marino sure acts like a pusy!
Casino Marino is a joke.
Only seeing Scollo ads on tv right now.
scollo for the upset!!!!!!!!!!!!! marino is such a loser