Finegold Withdraws From Only Planned Senate Debate with Republican DeFranco

Sen. Barry R. Finegold, left, in 2022, and Republican Senate candidate Salvatore P. DeFranco in 2018. (WHAV News photographs.)

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Sen. Barry R. Finegold last week withdrew from the only debate planned with his Republican challenger, Salvatore P. DeFranco.

Debate moderator Frank Novak said Finegold, incumbent Democrat from Andover, appeared to confirm a Wednesday, Nov. 3, date after saying a planned Tuesday forum would not work. DeFranco, of Haverhill, told WHAV last week he was eager to debate and placed no conditions on his appearance.

“We can have the debate in his house, moderated by his parents, and I’d show up,” DeFranco said.

There was no response to a WHAV email Thursday to Finegold campaign Manager Yvette Sei.

Novak was also coordinating the debate, which would have featured questions posed by WHAV President Tim Coco Eagle Tribune Editor Tracy Rauh and HC Media Engagement Manager Lindsay Paris.

The debate was the only planned face-to-face meeting of candidates for the newly reconfigured 2nd Essex and Middlesex District which now includes a piece of Haverhill. Novak noted Finegold last Monday confirmed the date in front of several people, saying “Yes, that works.”

“I am disappointed to say the least. I wish both candidates well in their election campaigns but can’t help but think that the biggest losers in this race, with the debate not going forward, are the voters, the people that have a right to know how the candidates stand on issues by taking an hour out of their day answer questions from professionals in the news media and not just relying upon what the candidates tell you. That’s a one-way street and lacks accountability,” Novak said.

In a release, DeFranco called Finegold’s withdrawal, “an outrage.”

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