Dennis camp says Bryant dodging debates

A little sniping coming from the Dave Dennis camp over Phil Bryant not attending a gubernatorial candidates forum on the Coast. Some excerpts from a story that will be running in the Sun Herald on Thursday:

LONG BEACH — Coast business and media groups have set a gubernatorial candidates’ forum for June 29, but the presumptive frontrunner, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, won’t be able to attend, his campaign said Wednesday.

Nine of the candidates in the race have committed to attend the forum, organizers said. They are: Republicans Dave Dennis, Hudson Holliday and Ron Williams; Democrats William Camton, Johnny DuPree, Bill Luckett and Guy Dale Shaw; Independent William D. Oatis and Reform candidate Shawn O’Hara.

Republican candidate James Broadwater has also said he will not be attending.

Brian Perry, spokesman for Dave Dennis, was critical of Bryant, and said Bryant also missed a recent debate held at Mississippi State University.

“Kirk Fordice wouldn’t have dodged a debate,” Perry said. “Haley Barbour wouldn’t dodge a debate, and Dave Dennis isn’t dodging a debate. As Phil Bryant dodges more and more, people have to wonder what he’s afraid of.”

But Bryant campaign spokesman Quinton Dickerson said Bryant has a scheduling conflict and “unfortunately, Phil Bryant will not be able to attend due to an event the same time on the schedule that we are unable to cancel.”

-- Geoff Pender/political editor