Both are political veterans seemingly with a lot they want to tell voters about themselves. Sinema has served in the Arizona Legislature. Parker has been Mayor of hoity toity Paradise Valley.
Both have law degrees. Both started their collegiate careers at community colleges. Both have compelling personal stories.
The Arizona Republic describes the race thus:
Republican Vernon Parker and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, emerging from hard-fought primaries in the newly created 9th Congressional District, have wasted no time lacing up their gloves for the Nov. 6 general election.Conservative blog site Red State calls Parker a "rising star."
The GOP candidate is rising star Vernon Parker, a charismatic conservative with experience as a successful mayor, and as an official in both Bush 41 and 43 Administrations. His campaign has focused on creating jobs and restoring our nation’s economic growth.
With all of this set up for a dynamic Congressional campaign between two apparently very capable individuals, I have to wonder why Mr. Parker is CHICKEN to go face-to-face or toe-to-toe with Sinema. Is he REALLY afraid to debate a girl?
That's not to demean Sinema. I have every confidence that she would make me look silly if I were to debate her face to face on any of the issues relevant to the CD9 Congressional race today. But I still would owe it to the voters to do it anyway.
If Vernon Parker is so easily intimidated by a Democratic opponent, could he be strong enough to take a stand against the leaders of his Congressional caucus even if his conscience told him they were wrong?
How do I know that Parker has been playing the role of the chicken?
Each of the following organizations or media outlets have approached both campaigns. A group that meets regularly for lunch may be able to accommodate one candidate if the other does not show up, but advocacy groups like Children's Action Alliance and media outlets do not want to appear biased for either side and will only make the time if both candidates commit and show up.
Each of the following have reportedly approach both campaigns but have not been able to make arrangements to have Parker appear.
- National Association of Retired Federal Employees (Sinema appeared, Parker a NO SHOW)
- Children's Action Alliance
- University Club Foundation
- Arizona Republic/KPNX Channel 12
- KAET Channel 8, PBS - Horizon
- KNXV, ABC Channel 15
- KSAZ, FOX Channel 10
- KTVW, Univision Channel 33
- KJZZ Radio FM 91.5
On Tuesday (Sept 18), Sinema challenged Parker to a debate on education.
Today Arizona 9th Congressional District candidate Kyrsten Sinema challenged her opponent Vernon Parker to a debate on education, delivering a letter to his campaign.
“Education is central to our economic future and to the next generation’s prospects, ” said Sinema. “People deserve to hear candidates for Congress lay out our ideas and our concerns.
That day, I called Parker's campaign office and spoke with a young man who identified himself as "Joe" and verified that Parker had received the letter. I asked if Parker was going to participate in such a forum with Sinema. He said it was unlikely Parker would be able to schedule a time for it. Another young man, "Trent" said the same thing. They gave me the phone number for a newly hired press relations person named Alyssa Pivirotto.
Late Wednesday, I was finally able to speak with Ms. Pivirotto. Much smoother than either Joe or Trent, but she was equally non-committal. She said that she would have to talk with people who will not be available before late Friday about the possibility of setting up a debate on education.
Two years ago, to the day, a California newspaper reporter opined about then GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman refusing to sit down with anyone from the San Francisco Chronicle.
This time, not only did we get the most passive-aggressive of all kiss-offs — the dreaded scheduling conflict — she kind of rubbed it in. (emphasis mine)
“We’re doing lots of editorial board meetings. I met with the Sacramento Bee this morning, I met with the LA Times yesterday, I think we’re at the San Jose Mercury News this week,” Whitman said. “So, it’s just a matter of how much time I have to do editorial board meetings versus town hall meetings, versus policy meetings, versus other things. So, one giant schedule for the next 45 days and we just had to pick and choose what we thought was, you know, what we could do with the time available.”I had told Ms Pivirotto that I needed to hear back from her on Thursday (yesterday). She said that there was no way anything could be worked out by then. I said I understood that it would take time to make specific arrangements, but it shouldn't take that long to decide to accept the invitation. I even called her late Thursday afternoon (left a voice mail message).
The one big question, besides "will you accept the challenge" I had hoped to ask Pivirotto is "where exactly will Parker be appearing for the next seven weeks to engage voters directly?"
If what RedState says about him is true, then WHY is Vernon Parker so afraid of Kyrsten Sinema?
So afraid that he refuses to accept FREE MEDIA?!
Of course, Parker is welcome to prove me wrong -- by accepting Sinema's invitation and those of other groups and broadcast media.
Vernon Parker's press relations person, Alyssa Pivirotto had indicated to me the last time we spoke (Wednesday, 9/19) that she would get back to me after talking with the unnamed individuals who would be able to decide whether Vernon Parker would accept the invitation/challenge to debate issued by the Sinema campaign. She said she'd be able to talk with them by Friday.
It is now Saturday and there has been no response. I have not heard back from Ms. Pivirotto nor from Joe or Trent.
What is Vernon Parker afraid of?