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Wagner Campaign Says Sen. Ball Skips Debates

SOUTHEAST, N.Y. ? State Sen. Greg Ball has been skipping debates, according to campaign material distributed Wednesday by Ball’s Democratic challenger, Justin Wagner.

A video was e-mailed to supporters allegedly showing what the campaign labeled "Sen. Greg Ball's emerging pattern of debate-dodging." The message said Tuesday's debate in Southeast was the third time in as many days that the state senator for the 40th District has skipped a debate.

Wagner's publicity rep, Linna Loangkote, said Ball (R, C-Patterson) did not send a representative to the debate in Mahopac on Sunday, Oct. 7. Ball's chief of staff, Jim Coleman, acted as a representative at the debate at Kendal-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow on Monday, Oct. 8, she said, and another stand-in represented the senator at the Concerned Residents of Southeast Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 9 in Brewster.

"The campaign would like to point out that Senator Ball's prescheduled conflicts occurred well after the debates ended," she said.

However, the Ball campaign fervently denied the accusations of "dodging." “Last evening,” Ball campaign press secretary Joe Bachmeier said, addressing the debate in Southeast, "the senator was at pre-scheduled events which included two veterans’ hall of fame inductions and a separate town hall event in the new district."

Bachmeier said Ball looks forward to every opportunity to debate the issues and highlight his record. He said Ball has attended two debates, will be at the News 12 debate Friday, and has at least six more scheduled.

"Being the Senator comes with responsibilities beyond campaigning," he said, and there is no way Ball can be in two places at once.

"If Senator Ball wants to give Justin twice as much time to introduce himself to the voters and answer their questions, we'll take it,” Wagner campaign manager Steve Napier said in Wednesday’s message, “but we think there should be a robust opportunity for voters to hear from both candidates on the issues."

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