Oct. 13 – James P. Hoffa, widely considered the front-runner in the race for Teamsters president, doesn’t plan to participate in the Oct. 19 debate scheduled by the court-appointed officer overseeing the election, reports the Associated Press.
The two other candidates have said they plan to participate. They are Thomas Leedham, head of the Teamsters’ warehouse division, and John Metz, head of the public employees’ division.
During the 1996 race, Hoffa ridiculed incumbent Ron Carey for refusing to face him in a debate. Carey narrowly defeated Hoffa, but his victory was later invalidated because of illegal use of union money for campaigning.
It’s different now, Hoffa’s campaign officials said, because Leedham and Metz are just trying to use such a debate to get more name recognition for themselves at Hoffa’s expense.