Republican Ryan Mackenzie says he opted to attend a meet-and-greet in Berks County on Tuesday rather than a debate for candidates in the 134th state House race after learning that his Democratic opponent would probably not be there.
Mackenzie, of South Whitehall, and Democrat Patrick Slattery, of Lower Macungie, are vying for the House seat in a Special Election to fill former Rep. Doug Reichley's unexpired term.
Tuesday's debate was sponsored by the Concerned East Penn Taxpayers Association (CEPTA). Only Republican Arlene Dabrow, who faces Mackenzie in the Republican primary for the same seat, .
"I was invited to attend the candidate meet and greet at the Bally Hotel which was on the same night as the CEPTA debate," Mackenzie wrote in an e-mail.
While he was looking forward to debating Slattery on the issues in the race, he said, sources then told him that Slattery would not be at the debate.
"I called CEPTA to confirm this and they seemed unsure as to whether or not he would be there.... I had to make a decision about which event I would be attending, and given the uncertainty of Mr. Slattery’s attendance, I chose to attend the event in Berks," Mackenzie wrote.
Slattery had announced late Tuesday afternoon in a prepared statement that he would not be participating in the debate as a result of filed in Lehigh County Court.
In Bally, Mackenzie attended a voter meet-and-greet hosted by Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht, who is supporting MacKenzie in the race, the candidate said in a prepared release.
Both the Special Election and the Primary are Tuesday, April 24.
Slattery is unopposed in the Democratic Primary.
Reichley is now a Lehigh County judge.