PALMDALE – Mayoral candidate Maggie Campbell says Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford has ignored her challenges for a public debate because he is afraid to face her.
In a press release this week, Campbell said she challenged Ledford and opponent, Desmond Kester, to a political debate in writing last week in response to several requests she received from residents.
She said Kester verbally accepted the challenge but Ledford did not reply to the written challenge or to the follow up call.
At the Park Watch press conference Tuesday, Ledford said Campbell’s challenge was “more about publicity than reality” and said he hadn’t responded because he wasn’t taking the challenge seriously.
“It’s kind of hard to take her seriously,” Ledford said. “She has no location and there’s not much information.”
Ledford said he was put off by Campbell’s challenge partly because it included a request to play music.
“That seemed to be the only thing I saw on the request,” Ledford said. “It says we need to create a new forum so we can play music as part of our introduction. I can’t take that seriously.”
Wednesday, Campbell said Ledford was making excuses because he was afraid to face her in a debate.
“Jim Ledford is not taking the debate seriously because he is afraid,” Campbell said. “People in Palmdale are talking and they realize that he is afraid to face me on neutral ground where he will not have a built in crowd such as the Palmdale Chamber.”
In reference to playing music at the debate, Campbell said, “Some candidates love their favorite motivational song to be played while they approach the podium and others do not. We do this every year using music in the California Democratic Party at the State Convention. It motivates the crowd and gets them excited.”
Further, Campbell said her written request challenging Ledford to a debate stated that the music component was optional.
“This is just a silly excuse from Ledford,” Campbell said. “If he does not want music, he can consider that aspect deleted.”
Asked whether he would accept Campbell’s challenge to a debate if a firm location and date was established, Ledford said, “Accept what? I’m not sure she has anything serious here. There’s no location, there’s no date… I guess I better go pick my music out…”
Campbell said she will continue to call on the mayor to debate the issues with her in a public forum.
“Let me be clear, I am willing to debate Mr. Ledford wherever and whenever he is willing to face the people of Palmdale,” Campbell said.
The third candidate in the Palmdale mayoral race, Desmond Kester, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.