Disrespecting Christina Abt

Christina Abt is the Democratic Candidate for the 147th Assembly District. She is also running a primary race for the Independence Party line under our system of electoral fusion. Abt is, incidentally, a member of the Independence Party. She has an opponent for the IP primary, millionaire owner of the Tanning Bed chain, Dan Humiston. 

Abt is also a real cheerleader for Buffalo & Western New York. A genuinely good person, with ideas and intentions that are also good. She deserves your support. 

A candidates’ forum and debate is scheduled to take place on August 21st at the Historical Society. The debate is being organized under the auspices of the YWCA, City & State, and the Partnership for the Public Good. Abt took to her campaign blog to outline the facts surrounding the organization of this debate, and who is – and isn’t – invited to participate.  She started out by republishing an email about the event that she received from the PPG’s Sam Magavern. 

Candidate Debate, August 21

There are some hotly contested races this fall – in both the primaries and general elections.  Join us for debate night at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Court, starting at 5pm on Tuesday, August 21.  Here are some of the confirmed and invited participants:

 Assembly District 149

Sean Ryan, Confirmed
Kevin Gaughan, Confirmed

 Assembly District 147

David DiPietro, Confirmed
Chris Lane, Confirmed
Dan Hummiston, Confirmed
David Mariacher, Invited 

Senate District 63

Betty Jean Grant, Invited
Tim Kennedy, Invited 

Congressional District 26

Kathy Hochul, Invited
Chris Collins, Invited

Presented by City and State, PPG, and the YWCA of Western New York.  Free and open to the public.  RSVP to the YWCA at 852-6120, ext 0,or info@ywca-wny.org.

As “fact two”, Abt notes that she was never informed of, or invited to the debate. 

FACT THREE

When I questioned the sponsors of the event (City and State Magazine, Partnership for the Public Good and the YWCA of WNY) as to why ALL of my opponents, both GOP and IP, were invited and I was not, I was told that it was planned as a primary focused event with the Hochul/Collins general election debate serving as a grand finale/audience draw.

FACT FOUR

When I further pointed out that I was in fact in a primary for the Independence line against one of the gentlemen who is also in the GOP battle in the 147th district— and that they were therefore were providing my opponent with a public debate forum that was being denied to me— I received compliements for a good point and an invitation to possibly interview with the editor of City and State and perhaps participate in a debate in the future.

FACT FIVE

When I asked the representative of City and State Magazine (the prime sponsor of the event) if I would be receiving an invitation, his response was that if they invited me it would not be fair to the gentlemen already invited— and also, they might decide not to show up.

FACT SIX

I am a graduate of the YWCA Political Institute School for Women.

Abt doesn’t offer her opinion on the matter, and she doesn’t express any reaction or emotion to what’s happening. 

So I will. 

This is an outrage.

The YWCA is, in part, organizing this event, and its motto is “eliminating racism, empowering women”. The Partnership for the Public Good is a progressive organization. Yet these two groups and their leadership see fit to exclude a female from this debate. Not just any female – but a female who is currently engaged in a primary campaign against one of the invited men in her race. City and State should have simply offered up an apology and quickly invited Abt to the debate. It did not, and has a poor excuse for it. 

The notion that inviting her – late, as an afterthought, and after-the-fact – would dissuade one of the men from attending is also outrageous. I can’t even begin to understand or fathom the rationale behind that statement. Who cares if they don’t show up? In what way would an invitation to Abt be unfair to the four men who are invited? It strains credulity to the point of being an utter falsehood – a cover-your-embarrassed-ass moment by a collection of alleged progressives who should know – and do – better. 

Maybe this explains why the PPG’s website’s section on gender inequality is blank. 

The YWCA – it hosted a “candidate’s college” earlier this year, which was specifically designed to get women active and involved in the electoral process.  It hosts it every year, and as Abt noted, she’s a graduate. Yet she was specifically and deliberately excluded from the coming debate. Every other candidate for the office she seeks – all of them male – were invited without hesitation. When confronted, the PPG, the YWCA, and City & State offer up ridiculous excuses and deflections.

These organizations should add “Factually Unsupported Rank Sexism” to next year’s candidate’s college syllabus. And they should absolutely invite Abt to the debate, and apologize to her for their knowing, deliberate insult. 

Visit Abt’s website here

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13 comments

  • The mistake the Y made was inviting Hochul and Collins to debate that is focused on primaries.  While the Independence Line means something in the November general election, in a primary you are talking to what, a hundred voters?  Makes no sense to host a debate for a minor party line n a State Assembly race and they should have been upfront about that.

    But by inviting Hochul and Collins, they lose the argument that this is about primary elections and thus should have included Ms. Abt.  I’m sure they invited this Congressional candidates to drum pu interest, but even so, it was a mistake.

    I think your outrage is laughable and way over the top as clearly this is a lack of political understanding on the part of whoever organized this and not some attempt to shut out Ms. Abt.  I bet she’ll be invited to their general election candidate’s forum.  Yet, as they construed this event, they are wrong and should let her participate.

    • Tony-

      Mrs. Abt is not simply an Independence Party candidate. She is also running on the Democratic line, hence the electoral fusion comment. 

      Here is the full list of candidates, and the lines they are currently running on:

      Christina M. Abt – D, I, WFDaniel J. Humiston – R, IDavid J. DiPietro – R, CChristopher Lane – R ,C, IDavid P. Mariacher – R, C

      It’s quite clearly an attempt to shut out Mrs. Abt. There are 5 candidates for this seat. All 5 are involved in primaries. 

      Only 4 were invited. 

      •  Incorrect on Lane and Mariacher re: C-line. Only DiPietro will appear on the Conservative ballot line – Mariacher tried and was denied. Lane didn’t attempt.

        • PayAttentionWomenVote

          A graduate of the YWCA’s IPL gets shut out of a key area debate?  The purpose of the IPL being to encourge/educate more women in politics and to fight the barriers to having more women in politics.  

          I guess the barriers to getting more women into office are playing out in real time as evidenced by Mr. Bedenko’s piece posted here.  The shame is that the barriers are posed by an organization whose mission is to promote women and eliminate discrimination.

          Ms. Abt’s  decision not to participate does not “resolve” this issue for any of the parties or their voters that are looking for female candidats.  It merely highlights the barriers.  

          The dismissive tone taken here about her choice to decline the late invitation to the debate demonstrates how women in politics are continually marginalized.

          People are taking note here.  

    • I don’t think it’s all way over the top. As you yourself point out – the argument that this debate is only for primary races is patently false, given the NY-27 invites (I doubt highly that Collins would show). 

      If you think there’s a “lack of political understanding” at work here, I’d call that a poor excuse, given that the CEO of the YWCA is a former Schumer liaison for WNY, given that City & State is trying to hold itself out as a statewide political periodical, and given that the Partnership for Public Good is, in part, a political activist non-profit organization. 

      •  You know, you’re right.  I was being too nice.  If you’re going to get your non-profit involved in non-partisan candidate nights, understand what you are actually doing.

  • I’m quite certain that once this is brought to the attention of Ms. Deborah Lynn Williams (CEO of YWCA and former aide to Sen. Schumer), she will rectify the situation.  I’d have to assume she is simply unaware of this issue. She is interested in increasing female involvement in the electoral process. Right?

  • That makes me sick, the organizations involved should be ashamed of themselves!!!!!

  • I’m going to throw this out there as an added question: why is there no Grisanti/Stocker or Amodeo/Swanick debate set up? 

    • Swanick is running as the anyone but Grisanti candidate. strictly a spoiler. If I were Amodeo, I would not want to be on the same stage as Swanick.  Stocker? Haven’t heard much from him at all. If there was a debate, at least I would know what the hell he looked like live.

  • Christina Abt was invited to the City and State 147th AD debate this morning. She declined. Apparently, much ado about nothing OR – they heard, invited, got their answer. Either way, its resolved.

    • Accepting the invite makes it look like she whined until she got what she wanted (regardless if that’s true), not accepting the invitation gives her the high ground. Good for her for passing on it.

  • Seems to me some mighty powerful folks afraid of losing a GOP Assembly seat wanted no part of
    Christina Abt.

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