Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

October 5, 2012

Debate over a debate

Candidates likely won’t meet again before Nov. 6

Corsicana — Join the discussion on this story by using the Facebook app to the right

There are only a handful of local contested seats up for election on Nov. 6, but voters won’t get to see them go head-to–head. The Corsicana/Navarro County Chamber of Commerce has decided not to host the traditional candidate’s forum.

The local contested seats are those of sheriff, county commissioner, precinct 1, and state representative. Seeking those positions are Elmer Tanner and John Barlow for sheriff; Harold Tate and Jason Grant for County Commissioner, precinct 1; and Byron Cook and Charles Morgan for state representative.

Paul Hooper, president and CEO of the chamber, released this statement: “The Chamber has recently received inquiries as to whether we will be hosting a public forum for the upcoming general election on Nov. 6. The Chamber chose not to host a public forum for the general election this year. On May 8, the Chamber, due to the delay caused by the redistricting issues, decided to include all parties and candidates in a forum for the local primary. Due to the time frame created by redistricting, the Chamber decided that this would be the only forum for this year’s election.”

In an interview, Hooper elaborated: “We felt like we were inclusive,” he said. “We invited all the candidates from both parties.”

Hooper denied that the chamber candidate’s forums were a long-standing tradition before major elections, or that one party was dictating the terms.

“Prior to my coming, it’s my understanding that they didn’t always do one,” he said. “It’s not a normal or regular occurrence. It’s not always. The last time we did one was because (everyone) hadn’t been included in the primary election.”

General election forums for local candidates were held in 2006, 2008, and 2010, according to Daily Sun records of those election cycles.

“We were not influenced by one part or another not to host it,” Hooper said. “That decision was made back in May.

“The chamber’s position is to facilitate a platform and medium to get the candidates in front of the citizens and community so they can make an informed decision based on the candidate’s experience and positions so they (voters) can make a clear decision when they go into the election polls.”

Hooper said the angst this year about people upset about the forums is likely to lead to some updating of the policies, though.

“We’re going to review our policies on public forums going forward so people will understand what we will do and what we won’t do,” he said.

Prior to May’s candidate’s forum, the controversy was over whether or not to include the state representative candidates. Ultimately, they weren’t included.

Neither of the state representative candidates in the general election race have asked for a forum, but John Barlow, the Democratic nominee for the sheriff’s office, is seeking one.

Earlier this week, he came to the Daily Sun offices and asked to be allowed to print a letter challenging Elmer Tanner to a debate, not a forum. The editorial decision was made not to allow it on the opinion page, but he was offered the option of buying an ad. He chose not to.

On Friday, Barlow said he issued the challenge to Tanner in a phone message. Tanner said he didn’t get the message.

“I want a debate, not a forum,” Barlow said. “It’s mainly to discuss certain issues that matter to the citizens of Navarro County, like drugs, burglaries, robberies and training. They all go hand in hand.”

The moderator for the proposed debate is Corsicana Mayor Chuck McClanahan.

“Everyone seems to be on board, I’ve just got to hear from Elmer,” Barlow said. “I don’t want to debate his schooling, my schooling, why a deputy took a left instead of a right on somebody’s street, I want to keep it to the pertinent issues. Just those three items and opening and closing statements.”

Tanner said he wouldn’t refuse a debate, but he admitted it’s just going to be more of the same.

“For in excess of a year now, I’ve attended debates, forums, crime stoppers events, and other functions. I feel confident the citizens of Navarro County know my campaign platform and stances for law enforcement in Navarro County.”

No one seems to be eager for a debate in the county commissioner’s race.

Harold Tate, who’s running as the Democratic nominee, said he’ll oblige if Jason Grant, the Republican, wants one.

“We’re probably pretty close on a lot of things anyway,” Tate said. “I don’t know how much there is to debate, really. I’m conservative, and I want to do the job for the community and make sure we look towards the future. I don’t know if we differ a lot really.”

As of Friday afternoon, no decision had yet been made on the debate.


Janet Jacobs may be reached by email at Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:

Text Only
Latest News
  • 8-2-14 backpacks of love.jpg Backpacks of Love needs volunteers this week

    What had begun as a few churches collecting random bags of pencils and notebook filler paper has turned into a once-a-year community-wide project to get every kid an even shot at succeeding in school.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 5-2 Tanner Elmer mug.jpg Sheriff's Corner: Compensation remains an issue for NCSO

    We recently submitted the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office 2014-2015 budget proposal for review. Included in this year’s budget is Option 1, a complete salary restructure for the entire sheriff’s department, or Option 2, an 8 percent across the board raise.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23-14 food pantry girl.jpg Local girl raises money for hungry families

    Lacy Rose Goodrich, 9, is a typical Bowie fourth-grader. She likes to watch “Full House,” reruns and “iCarly,” and she has a dog and a cat. She takes gymnastics and dance lessons, and has attended four different Vacation Bible Schools this summer, as well as all the parks and recreation summer programs for kids.
    What’s unusual about Lacy is that she also raised nearly $500 for the food pantry since Easter, which is the equivalent of 3,450 pounds of food for hungry Navarro County residents.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hope Center Celebrating 30 years: Hope Center sends out appeal

    The Hope Center, which began in 1984, will celebrate a huge milestone soon.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jury dismissed for Monday

    The jury called for Aug. 4 at 8:30 a.m. District Court, Judge James Lagomarsino has been dismissed.

    August 1, 2014

  • 8-1-14 city council meet.jpg City to raise water, sewer rates

    Water rates, sewer rates and trash rates will all go up for Corsicana city residents, according to preliminary budget figures presented to the city council Thursday afternoon.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • City cancels ambulance contract with county

    The City of Corsicana has notified Navarro County officials it is cancelling its agreement with the county to provide EMS ambulance service to areas outside the city limits. According to a letter sent to county officials by Corsicana Mayor Chuck McClanahan, ambulance service to county residents will end on Jan. 31, 2015.

    July 31, 2014

  • 8-1-14 TxDOT.jpg TxDOT work nears completion

    The project to rebuild Seventh Avenue or Highway 31 as it goes through Corsicana is almost over. From an uneven patchwork of paving and pitted concrete, now it’s a smooth ride from Beaton all the way through town.
    It just took an extra year to finish.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-31-14 Fire2.jpg Deputies, fire departments have busy weekend

    An attempt to bootleg electricity off a pole using jumper cables is believed to have caused a building fire that took out a former restaurant in Angus Friday morning, one of a series of calls to Navarro County Sheriff’s Office to the southern end of the county over the weekend.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-31-14 Rice ISD Alex Stough mug.jpg Rice students win UIL scholarships

    Three Rice High School students received UIL scholarships for competing in academic competitions at the state level, according to advisor Alan Lewis.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Twitter Updates