Candidates Forum Leaves One Candidate In The Parking Lot

April 7, 2011 Updated Apr 7, 2011 at 11:23 PM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

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April 7, 2011 Updated Apr 7, 2011 at 11:23 PM EDT


Town of Wheatfield, N.Y. (WKBW) -- We're less than two months away from a special election that would fill the empty congressional seat vacated by Chris Lee. A chance for people to meet the candidates vying for that position...didn't go as planned. About 50 members of TEA New York gathered at the Frontier Fire Hall Thursday night. They had invited four of the candidates running in next month's special election to fill the empty 26th district congressional seat. It was supposed to be a candidate's forum. Only republican Assemblywoman Jane Corwin could make it.

"It's very important for me to reach out to people in the community and introduce myself and explain to people the issues that I think are important and my qualifications for being a candidate for congress. It's important to reach out and talk to people," she said.

Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul had a prior commitment. She is the democratic party candidate. A letter she sent was read to the audience. Tea party candidate Jack Davis wasn't there either. He was at different Tea party event in Clarence, picking up their endorsement. David Bellavia wasn't there. He never got enough signatures to make it on to the ballot.

Ian Murphy was on hand to comment, "But, as you can tell from my attire, I stand up for tea party ideals and freedoms." He was outside in the parking lot and not allowed in. Murphy is the Green Party candidate. He was dressed in a colonial era outfit and was wearing a three corner hat. The TEA New York group told him they only wanted serious candidates to attend the forum. "Well, I believe in freedom of speech. They invited all the candidates, except for me, and I'm here to have my voice heard," he added. The special election to fill the seat that Chris Lee resigned earlier this year will be held on May 24th.