DUBOIS, CLEARFIELD COUNTY - DuBois Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a gubernatorial candidate forum Wednesday night at Penn State DuBois, but only two of the seven candidates actually showed up.
Sam Rohrer and Jack Wagner definitely scored some points with voters just by being in DuBois Wednesday evening. Tom Corbett sent a representative to speak on his behalf, and the rest of the candidates were no-shows.
John Balliet is a member of Taxpayers United for Representation Now, and went to the forum to hear the candidates’ positions on the issues. He said he’d like to relay that information to a taxpayers’ forum that he represents, but that it’s hard to get the full story with only two of seven candidates and a surrogate speaker.
“There’s always been a question of whether they care about the rural vote at all, and to me it speaks greatly of Mr. Rohrer and Mr. Wagner,” he said.
And he’s not alone. Mart Ferrari said she came to the forum to be a more informed voter, and she thinks the candidates who didn’t come tonight are taking Central Pennsylvania’s votes for granted.
“I think it’s a shame. As a rural area I think we’re already underrepresented, and they might be sorry,” she said.
Rohrer and Wagner said the other candidates aren’t just picking on DuBois.
“He and I have, on several occasions, been the only two candidates. The rest of them all dropped out,” Rohrer said, “So, unfortunately it’s a bit more common than it ought to be.”
By missing tonight’s event, the absent candidates may have missed their only opportunity to communicate directly with voters in the area.
“There’s many forums in Philadelphia. There’s many forums in Pittsburgh. There’s very few forums at Penn State DuBois, said Balliet, “And for them to opt out, I think speaks very poorly of their campaigns.”
DuBois Area Chamber of Commerce President, Nancy Micks, said all of the candidates received their invitations to this event back in January, and some of them just confirmed that they wouldn’t be attending in the last couple of days, something she said shows a serious lack of commitment to this part of the state.