HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee – John Rose declined to participate in a public forum here at VFW Post 9851 on Thursday with State Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma), his opponent for the Republican nomination in the 6th Congressional District race in 2018 to succeed Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06), who is running for governor.
In a letter dated October 31 and received on the day of the first forum, Rose declined participating in any of the upcoming forums, as he is “currently focused on meeting and listening to the voters of Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District,” adding that “there will be a time for forums and debates,” and
At the appropriate time, I look forward to a forum sponsored by a well-established, independent, reputable organization.
Rose’s letter declining the invitation did not elaborate on what he considered to be a “reputable organization.”
The forum was organized by a group of long-time middle Tennessee activists, led by Katherine Hudgins of the 4th Congressional District ; well-known taxpayer advocate and Nashville Tea Party founder Ben Cunningham; founding member of Sumner United for Responsible Government, Ruth Fennel; as well as Kevin and Laura Baigert from Sumner Taxpayers Alliance.
When the formal program began, Matheny made an opening statement, then took organizer-prepared questions from the moderator, Lipscomb University political science Assistant Professor Marc Schwerdt, as well as several submitted by attendees, before making his closing remarks.
The questions covered a wide range of topics including sanctuary cities, immigration, “Constitutional carry,” and qualifications for the office.
The formal program lasted about an hour with Matheny arriving at least 30 minutes prior to and staying after the formal program, allowing time to mingle with voters.
About 40 people attended the forum.
Three additional forums are scheduled for Monday, November 13 at the Senior Citizen Center in Mt. Juliet; Tuesday, November 14 at the Putnam County Courthouse in Cookeville; and Thursday, November 16 at the Coffee County Courthouse in Manchester, all starting at 7 p.m.