WASHINGTON (WMAL) – In most political races, the candidates debate each other, but not in the Virginia race for District 13 seat in the House of Delegates.
Long-time Republican incumbent Del. Bob Marshall said he will not debate his opponent, Danica Roem, an openly transgender woman. Marshall said he has debated candidates in the past, but he believes right now there is a distinct lack of civility. He said his opponent is exercising what he called “an extreme attack” on his record.
“Actually he’s making up part of the record for me, so I just don’t think that there’s any benefit. It’s not gonna benefit the public. It may entertain some, and it may annoy others, but it’s not a vehicle for conveying information,” Marshall said.
Roem said Marhsall is refusing to defend his record in a public forum. That record includes sponsoring a so-called bathroom bill, which would have required transgender people use the bathrooms in schools, at highway rest stops and in government buildings associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Marshall also sponsored an amendment to Virginia’s constitution prohibiting same same marriages.
“The fact of the matter is, he’s afraid of me, and he’s apparently afraid of follow up questions,” Roem said.
Marshall does not believe refusing to debate his opponent will have a negative effect on his campaign. He said he has met many residents by going door-to-door and even puts his phone number on his campaign literature so people can call him up and talk to him individually.
Roem said the debates are not about him or her but rather about answering the questions voters have for them.
“Delegate Marshall, however, is trying to control the narrative by not speaking directly to the most number of people in the 13th District in a public forum against me,” Roem said.
The election for the 13th District seat will be held Nov. 7, 2017. Marshall is now serving his 13th term in the position.
Copyright 2017 WMAL.com All Rights Reserved. (Photo: Danica Roem via Twitter)