The Herbst for Trumbull campaign and the Trumbull Republican Town Committee on Wednesday morning were disappointed that Mary Beth Thornton backed out of a public forum for seniors.
“This was an opportunity for people to engage both myself and my opponent on the issues; I was looking forward to this,” stated First Selectman Tim Herbst. This afternoon at 1:30 p.m., the two candidates were to both appear at a forum at the Huntington Place Senior Community Room, with a question and answer session with Trumbull seniors.
However, Democratic First Selectman candidate Mary Beth Thornton abruptly canceled because she claimed she was walking into an “ambush.”
However the confusion began last Friday when the Herbst Campaign wanted to ensure that each candidate had an opportunity to speak on the questions asked by the residents and that there be some structure.
“I don’t know what she is afraid of, she resorts to name calling by telling everyone she comes in contact with that I am a bully, that I’m arrogant and that I’m self-serving, yet when we want to ensure that she has a fair opportunity to be heard, she backs out,” stated First Selectman Herbst. The Herbst Campaign reached out to Aaron Leo, the editor to the Patch, as a neutral party to make sure things ran smoothly.
Yesterday, however the Thornton Campaign became enraged not only that a neutral party was involved, but were agitated when informed ahead of time that the Herbst Campaign was considering filming the event.
“People film First Selectman Herbst all the time. When you’re the leader of a town you have to be able to handle pressure. It is troublesome that Mrs. Thornton can’t even handle a group of 40 seniors. What will happen when you have residents demanding all kinds of things? Mrs. Thornton does not seem to be able to handle the pressure of being a First Selectman,” Stated Jack Testani, chairman of the Trumbull RTC.
After several phone calls by Nancy DiNardo trying to convince the organizer she was being used and tricked, the Herbst campaign called Aaron Leo and advised him that based on the Thornton campaign objections, his services would not be needed.
“I wanted this opportunity to have an open and honest discussion about my plans for senior tax relief and how I am going to continue to stabilizing property taxes. I am so sorry for the residents and for the organizer and I attended the event anyway to answer the questions of these seniors,” stated Herbst.
The Herbst Campaign then left a message and emailed the Thornton campaign around 8:30 p.m. The email and the calls were never returned and at 11:00 p.m. Mrs. Thornton issued a press release indicating that she did not want to participate.
“Based on previous actions, we know that Mary Beth Thornton has a history of bailing out under pressure. She has stormed out of meetings when she doesn’t get her way, she abstains from crucial town votes when she doesn’t want to take a position and this latest incident is yet another example of how Mrs. Thornton does not possess the ability to handle adversity and what she perceives as difficult situations. These are not the characteristics of a good leader, you can’t just take your ball and go home when you’re the First Selectman,” concluded Testani.