Mayor Linda Lawrence had the stage to herself Tuesday night, after Jim Tipple made good on his promise not to participate in a forum at UW Marathon County earlier Tuesday evening.
Incumbent Mayoral candidate Linda Lawrence was sitting next to an empty chair Tuesday night, because her opponent Jim Tipple was a no-show, and that left the small crowd at the UWMC Theater to listen in on a very one-sided event.
Political scientist Angela Burger was happy with the timing and the content of Tuesday night's mayoral forum, but she would have liked to see a better showing by the candidates.
"I was personally, of course, just really disappointed that Jim Tipple was not here. I really wanted to know what his position is on a awful lot of issues," said Burger.
Burger says Tipple's absence does not give the voters a clear picture of who they have to choose from.
Tipple drew questions and, in some cases criticism from others at the debate, including the panelists and the mayor herself.
"You alluded to Mr. Tipple in your response here, do you think that he has been open and accessible during his campaign? Would you care to comment on his absence this evening?" said Panelist Keith Montgomery.
"It's not considered to be open to not only not be here, but to not talk about who's advising you," said Lawrence.
Lawrence went on to attack Tipple's campaign as a series of catch phrases that would not work in reality. She criticized Tipple's 'Freeze it and Fix it' plan as being a program, that, if it was instituted, would destroy Wausau’s ability to cover its expenses.
"I don't really know what Freeze it and Fix it is, it sounds good, but if you do that, you'll have deficit spending, you'll have layoffs and you won't have growth," said Lawrence.
There are those who support Tipple's message, which has been to reduce taxes and the city's debt, but by avoiding events like Tuesday night’s forum, the question is whether or not enough people will ever hear that message, to elect him.
The debate will be shown, commercial-free, following Sunday night's Newschannel 7 Weekend at 10.