A couple of weeks ago I received a call here at the office Chronicle Times from a young lady from the Culver/Judge campaign.
She informed me that Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge was going to be attending a campaign event here in Cherokee.
This is not an unusual occurrence around here as many politicians hit Cherokee while on the campaign trail. What was unusual is what the lady told me next. She told me that this event that Judge was to appear at was closed to the media.
So I asked the lady why she called me then. It felt like she was telling me that there was going to be a party and, by the way, you're not invited.
She told me that they wanted to make some time after the event so I could interview Judge and take some pictures. I asked the campaign aide why should I do that since I can't come to the event?
I continued with my pitch, and added that this is a small town and I'll know most of the people who will be at this event anyhow, so whatever happens I'll be privy to anyway.
I then said that I've never heard of a situation of a campaign event being closed to the media. I felt a little dismayed by the action of the campaign and that it did not look well at all. So I then asked why it was closed to the media?
The staffer told me that the Lt. Governor wanted to have an environment where she could speak her mind freely without it being taken out of context.
I don't know about you folks but when events like this comes to town and the media is not invited, it really looks like they're trying to hide something. If they can't speak their mind in front of a reporter then what's really on their mind?
I informed the aid that since I've worked here I've seen presidential candidates, state candidates, and local candidates, and none of them ever had an event that was closed to the media.
At that point she told me she would check and see if they would make an exception for me.
Truth be told, I felt a little special then, but soon after that, my warm fuzzy glow went away when she called back and said that they could not make an exception. However, she told me that Patty would stop by our offices after the event.
Again, I felt a little special (when you can't or won't go to Rome, Rome will come to you).
So I agreed and a time was set up that afternoon for the Lt. Governor to come to our office for an interview.
During the meantime, I had to start thinking of some questions to ask Patty.
I though about asking about campaign stuff and how the last four years were going... those kind of things. I spent about two hours digging up facts and history to get quickly up to speed on this interview that was dropped in my lap.
But the main question I wanted to ask was why the media wasn't invited to the campaign event? I really wanted to hear her answer. But sadly, I never had the chance to ask her that question. You see, she never showed up and I got stood up. No phone call, fax, email or nothing. Now I've been stood up before, but never by a Lt. Governor.
To rub salt into the wound, I saw Patty on TV later that night, smiling and waving. She was in Sioux City saying goodbye to our troops being deployed.
I guess the opportunity to speak to a large crowd was more desirable then coming to some podunk town to talk to a stubborn reporter. Without having the chance to talk to her, I'm left with the impression that they must see us here in Cherokee as irrelevant.
It's just kind of sad if that's the way they think about us around here.
Good luck in November, Patty. You're going to need it.