Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan sat alone at the debate table Thursday evening after his opponents, developer Tom Terminella and resident Ron Baucom, backed out of attending the event.
The event, which begin at 6:30 p.m. inside the former Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce offices just off the downtown square, was the final in a series of scheduled public forums hosted by the chamber that also included candidates from each of the city’s four City Council races (see our coverage here).
The news of Terminella’s absence, which was sent in a press release (read it here) shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday by Terminella’s campaign manager Will Hansen, stated that Baucom had also agreed to withdraw from the event.
“It is the candidates’ respective beliefs that this forum does not represent the most effective way to deliver their messages to the citizens of Fayetteville,” the release stated. “The candidates find these forums are attended by a small percentage of Fayetteville voters who, generally, have already decided their votes.”
In the release, Terminella said as a “pro-business candidate,” he is better able to connect with entrepreneurs and concerned citizens in a more personal conversation than during a public forum.
According to the statement, both candidates said they believe face-to-face interaction with citizens is more effective than the recent “low-attended” City Council candidate forums.
“I would rather get out and go to the people to understand their needs and concerns,” Terminella said in the release.
The forum, moderated by chamber board member Alex Baldwin, went on as scheduled in front of audience members who took turns asking Jordan questions about economic development, recycling initiatives, infrastructure plans, and business growth.