Republicans withdraw from forum over Kavanaugh dispute

Oct 8, 2018

The District Map for the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners
Credit Grand Traverse County

Updated on 10/9/18 10:50 a.m.: Addison "Sonny" Wheeloch of District 4 was the only Republican to attend the forum last night.


The Republican candidates for the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners withdrew from a forum scheduled for tonight. They say they are protesting the League of Women Voters (LWV), whose local branch is sponsoring the event.


In a Saturday press release, the national LWV condemned the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.


“Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed by a margin of one, whereas historically Supreme Court nominees have been confirmed by much larger majorities,” the statement said. “Two years ago, the Senate refused to even consider a presidential nominee for the Supreme Court, which is without precedent.”


The league’s CEO Virginia Kase, also protested with demonstrators before the vote.


Republican Gordie LaPointe, a candidate for the county’s sixth district, says he was upset with the league and their CEO’s behavior, so he sent an email to the other candidates.


“After watching television and the screaming and shouting down of people, I said I can’t work with an organization that promotes that type of activity,” LaPointe says.


He says the national organization is too partisan, but he has no problem with the local league.


Jan Warren, the president of the Grand Traverse League of Women Voters, says this decision really only hurts one group: voters.


“Their withdrawal from the forum tonight will prevent us from educating the voters of Grand Traverse County about their qualifications, their thoughts on the critical issues facing the area, and their goals for office,” Warren says.


The forum will still be held at 6 p.m. at the Garfield Township Hall in Traverse City. Meanwhile, the Republican candidates will be at Horizon Books across town, where they say voters can talk to them about the issues.