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The Truth Behind Rob Andrews’ Refusal to Debate

October 18, 2010

Rob Andrews


From Dale Glading:

In the Spring of 2008, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-Haddon Heights) was in the midst of an upstart campaign to unseat incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).  Meanwhile, Sen. Lautenberg – whether for reasons of age or because he was still steaming at Andrews for breaking his face-to-face promise not to launch a primary challenge – was dodging debates.

At first, Andrews challenged Lautenberg to 21 debates; then narrowed the number to 13 – one in each congressional district.  When Lautenberg continued to stall, Andrews called his delaying tactic “pathetic” and “disrespectful to the voters”.

Fast forward two years to the current campaign where Andrews is running for re-election to his 11th term.  Despite agreeing to debate Dale Glading, his Republican challenger, the week after the June primary, Andrews has failed to make good on his promise.  In fact, the 20-year incumbent has taken Sen. Lautenberg’s duplicity to another level.

In early September, Rep. Andrews was contacted by the pastors of two large churches in the district who invited him to debate Glading and the other three filed candidates.  Instead of responding immediately as per his promise, Andrews and his staff stalled for time by refusing to return multiple phone calls and emails.  Whenever the two pastors reached Andrews’ staff, they were dismissively told that they would have to check the congressman’s schedule. 

More than a month went by with still no firm commitments from Andrews and his impertinent staff.  Finally, after six long weeks of trying, Dr. J. Bruce Sofia of the 3,000 member Gloucester County Community Church had enough.  Pastor Sofia, who also oversees the prestigious Bethel Prep private school in Sewell, set a debate date for October 25th and invited Glading, Andrews, and the other filed candidates to participate.

To date, Mr. Andrews has refused to reply to Dr. Sofia’s invitation despite the fact that Democratic Assemblyman Paul Moriarty has agreed to moderate the debate and Channel 6 News has promised to cover it.

Andrews evidenced the same disrespectful behavior toward Rev. Charles Clark, Senior Pastor at Solid Rock Baptist Church in Berlin.  Solid Rock also houses a Christian school and Pastor Clark had even offered to have the Democratic mayors of nearby towns serve as moderators.  However, after six weeks of being misled and mistreated by the Andrews campaign, a visibly disappointed Clark cancelled the town hall style forum. 

Two invitations from two prominent pastors of two of the largest churches in the First District, both of which provide a quality private education to area school children…with the same result.

Will the voters of Sewell, Berlin and the rest of the First District be given a chance to hear the congressional candidates address the issues of greatest concern to them?  Apparently not – and no one is to blame other than Rob Andrews, a man who appears incapable of telling the truth or keeping a promise.

To contact Rep. Andrews’ office to lodge a complaint about his refusal to debate as well as his treatment of area clergy, call 856.546.5100.

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