Burlington County residents could be treated to plenty of freeholder debates over the next few months.
Today, Republican freeholder candidate Joe Donnelly wrote a letter to Tom Bader, his Democratic opponent, challenging him to five one-hour debates between labor day and the November election, in addition to two that are already scheduled.
”In all honesty, I have been disappointed in your campaign’s lack of substance thus far,” wrote Donnelly in the letter. “The residents of Burlington County deserve better than campaign press releases filled with nothing more than partisan attacks and petty name-calling.”
Donnelly said that Bader’s campaign has been negative and free of substance. Donnelly highlighted his own proposal to cut the county’s property taxes by $25 million and, if elected, refuse a pension and cut his own freeholder salary by half.
“Doctor Bader’s campaign is shaping up to be a Camden County Democrat-scorched earth special: partisan attack, followed by partisan attack, followed by partisan attack,” said Donnelly in a press release attached to the letter. “I hope Dr. Bader is better than that, and he can start proving it by accepting my debate invitation today.”
Burlington County Democratic Chairman Rick Perr said that Bader would be happy to debate Donnelly, though he said the scheduling would need to be worked and wouldn’t commit just yet to all five.
“We see no barrier to engaging in public discourse over the direction of the county during this campaign,” said Perr.
Perr also disputed the notion that Bader’s campaign was exclusively negative and outlined a few of the candidate’s proposals, including eliminating cars for county employees, capping county spending and instituting a stricter ethics code.
“The distinction at the debates will be clear between the two candidates: Dr. Bader’s vision for the future and Donnelly’s ties to the corrupt Burlington County Republican Machine,” said Perr.
All five members of the Burlington County Freeholder Board are Republican. Donnelly and Bader are vying for the seat of Vince Farias, who has decided not to seek reelection.