The Great Chittenden County State’s Attorney Candidate Forum Kerfuffle of 2022

Warning: This post concerns a trivial political battle that should interest absolutely no one in their right mind. In other news, it’s Wednesday.

I seem to have triggered something with my recent post about Ted Kenney refusing to participate in forums and surveys in the primary race for Chittenden County State’s Attorney. After my original post about the Vermont ACLU, I was told that the Chittenden County Democrats had wanted to hold a forum for Democrat Kenney and incumbent Dem Sarah Fair George, but they canceled because Kenney declined all of the proposed dates and never suggested alternatives of his own.

So I added the Chittenden County bit to my post about the ACLU.

The resultant kerfuffle, recounted below in excruciating detail, amounts to this: Did Kenney refuse to participate in the Chittenden forum or not?

The answer to that question, in my mind, is: Literally no, but effectively yes.

And now the details.

After I updated my post, Kenney supporter and former Burlington city councilor Ed Adrian took to Twitter to upbraid me for peddling a phony story of dubious provenance:

Note that Adrian doesn’t precisely say that my account was wrong. Parsing words, but we’re talking about an attorney with Pharisaical tendencies here. Adrian also DM’d me with the name and number for Mike Ross, chair of the Chittenden Dems. I left a voice mail for Ross yesterday; he didn’t return my call.

Meanwhile, I reached out to George, who DM’d me a screenshot of a text from Ross which she said I could share:

“Unavailable” isn’t exactly “refused to participate,” but it seems a very close equivalent.

This morning, I found an email from Ross in my inbox.

To clarify, Ted Kenney confirmed that he was interested but unavailable to attend the Forum on the dates suggested by the Chittenden County Democrats due to previously scheduled events.

“Interested but unavailable” can be taken as meaning he’d love to attend but is too busy campaigning down the home stretch. It could also mean “Sorry, I have to walk the dog.” But when you combine that with Ross’ text to George — “Kenney confirmed that he is unavailable to attend” — you get something that leans toward the “dog” interpretation.

Finally, today Adrian tweeted this message from Ross, who just became county chair and didn’t ask to be dragged into this:

This Forum is canceled as the County Committee was not able to finalize a date/time for the Forum in which both candidates were available. Specifically, Ted Kenney confirmed that he was interested but unavailable to attend this Forum on the dates suggested by the Chittenden County Democrats due to previously scheduled events.

Adrian posits this as proof that Kenney was, in fact, open to attending.

I’m sorry, but no. If Kenney turned down the proposed dates without offering alternatives, then he was responsible for killing the event. My post stands as written.

This is the sort of stuff that makes a political blogger’s heart go a-flutter, but makes no difference to almost everybody else in the world. This won’t change the mind of a single voter. But it’s precisely why political media are compelled to write that a race is “heating up” as balloting draws near. The heat is definitely being felt.


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