A debate between the two candidates for Virginia lieutenant governor turned negative right out of the gate tonight, with Democrat Jody Wagner accusing incumbent Republican Bill Bolling of being a frequent no show for government meetings. Bolling returned fire with accusations of inept financial forecasts by Wagner, a former state finance official under two governors.
The finger pointing even drew the Roanoke College audience into the debate, despite admonitions of silence from debate organizers. Boos rained on Bolling when he persisted in quoting from a copy of a Washington Post article, despite being told by Wagner and the moderator that the rules did not allow outside material during the debate.
The moderator later disclosed the candidates had inadvertently been given different versions of the rules. After the debate, a rueful representative of the Virginia Bar Association, the debate sponsor, explained he had mistakenly advised the Wagner campaign that only pads and pencils were allowed, when the rules actually were silent on the use of outside documents.
Rules confusion aside, the jabs continued, with Bolling twice charging Wagner with “distortions, deceptions and dishonesty. Wagner responded, “His entire campaign is a fiction that he’s created.”
By Peter Vieth