The candidates for Delaware County Council have agreed to a set of three debates stacked for October.
After initially agreeing to a set of debates shortly after the primary, then seeing the process erupt into controversy over the scheduling of them, both Democrats and Republicans now have set aside three times to face each other.
This campaign season, Republicans Jim Raith, Mike Morgan and Kelly Colvin battle against Democrats Christine Reuther, Elaine Paul Schaefer and Monica Taylor for three open seats on County Council. Council Chairman John McBlain and Vice Chairwoman Colleen Morrone are prevented by term limits from running again and Councilman Michael Culp has elected not to seek re-election.
The set of debates begin Thursday, Oct. 10 at Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Ave. in Radnor in a debate sponsored by the Delaware County League of Women Voters. The event is expected to last from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Second is a contest from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 23 at Maris Grove with Jim Melwert from KYW Radio moderating. Only Maris Grove residents will be admitted to this event.
And, lastly, Delaware County Daily Times Executive Editor Phil Heron will oversee the final debate from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Springfield Township Building, 50 Powell Road in Springfield on Friday, Oct. 25.
Both sides had their own take on the sparring yet to come.
The Democrats said the voters will see it's time for a change.
“Republicans have controlled Delaware County for decades, and our residents have only gotten higher taxes and fewer services than our neighbors in surrounding counties," Reuther said. "We look forward to sharing our vision about how to crack down on corruption, cut waste, and improve the quality of life for Delco families in the upcoming debates."
Schaefer shared a similar view.
“For decades, Republican politicians have dodged debates and avoided public scrutiny, while Democrats and residents have sought to hold them accountable," she said. "This year, voters will have three opportunities to hear from candidates and hold the Republicans accountable for their record of mismanagement and high taxes."
In her team's interaction with voters, Taylor said they've seen a desire for something different.
“We talk to residents every day, whether at their doors, on the phone, or at events throughout the county," Taylor said. "Voters from all parties are fed up with decades of unaccountable Republican rule. Our residents are ready for change, and we look forward to making the case for new ideas and new leadership in the debates and throughout the rest of this campaign."
Delaware County Republican Chairman Thomas McGarrigle called the Democrats out after the Republicans wanted to go at it five times, but the Dems only conceded to three.
“While three debates fall short of the five debates the Democrats committed to do last spring, our team looks forward to each debate to showcase our ideas for Delaware County,” McGarrigle said. “Bring it on.”
He claimed the Democrats don't want to publicly face their opponents.
“For months, the Democrats have been hiding from voters," McGarrigle said. "The two times voters have heard from them, it was to perpetrate a criminal hate hoax and use foreign workers to call local voters. You just can’t make this stuff up.”
The GOP chairman lauded his candidates and their approach.
“The Democrats fall woefully short on transparency," McGarrigle said. "It should come as no surprise. They know the more voters learn about their misguided plans for the county, the less likely the Democrats will be to earn voters’ trust. Mike, Kelly and Jim have met with more voters than I can ever recall candidates doing. They are passionate about Delaware County’s future and are ready to lead.”