Zimmann blasts Latta for refusing debate

10/22/2012
BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A man in a chicken suit holds a
A man in a chicken suit holds a "Latta's Chicken" sign near a Mitt Romney campaign bus across from the early voting poll location in Toledo.

Democrat Angela Zimmann, candidate for the 5th Congressional District, blasted her Republican opponent today for refusing to debate and also for manipulating people featured in one of her campaign commercials.

Four Zimmann supporters who appeared in a recent commercial saying “shame on you Bob Latta” joined the candidate for a news conference. Their remarks on the pro-Zimmann commercial were clipped and placed at the start of a pro-Bob Latta commercial, in which it appears they said “Shame on you” and then a narrator quickly adds: “shame on you Angela Zimmann for hiding behind others to distort Bob Latta’s record.”

Dianna Raine, one of those in the commercials, said she was appalled to be seen in the Latta commercial.

“Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV and saw myself in an ad against Angela Zimmann,” Ms. Raine said. “Congressman Latta claims in his attack against Angela, he has worked hard to protect seniors, yet Bob Latta voted for a budget that would turn Medicare into a voucher system, burdening seniors with higher out-of-pocket expenses.”

Ms. Zimmann, who held the news conference in the Holland office of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local Union, again challenged Mr. Latta (R., Bowling Green) to a debate.

“These are people who support my candidacy because they have grown tired of Congressman Latta’s short-sighted partisanship, which has hurt our jobs and economy and threatened women’s pay equity and health care,” she said.

Karen Gallagher, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toledo, left, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, 9th district; Georgia Hudson, an exchange student from the U.K. studying Political Science at Bowling Green State University, and Angela Zimmann, candidate for the US Representative, 5th district of Ohio talk before the forum.
Karen Gallagher, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toledo, left, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, 9th district; Georgia Hudson, an exchange student from the U.K. studying Political Science at Bowling Green State University, and Angela Zimmann, candidate for the US Representative, 5th district of Ohio talk before the forum.

Ms. Zimmann said she has not distorted his record. She said he opposed a bill guaranteeing equal pay for equal work for women, that he is “anti-choice,” and that he opposed the 2009 bailout of the auto industry.

Ms. Zimmann challenged her incumbent opponent to a debate during a candidate forum last week but the invitation, made during her closing statement at a candidate forum, went unanswered by Mr. Latta during his closing remarks.

Mr. Latta, who could not be reached for comment, was expected to attend a Republican campaign stop at the early vote center Monday in north Toledo but did not attend.

An unidentified man in a chicken suit was attempting to ambush the congressman at the early vote center. He held a sign that read: “Latta’s Chicken. Why is Bob Latta too Chicken to debate?”

“I am a lifelong 5th District and I am just fed up with Bob Latta talking his seat for granted and not debating,” said the man in the chicken suit, who would give his name to The Blade.

State Rep. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), a veteran local politician now seeking a return to the Ohio Senate in the 2nd district, was at the event and urged people to vote early.

After briefly stepping aboard a Mitt Romney campaign bus, Mr. Gardner spoke to reporters but declined to talk about Mr. Latta or the chicken man.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.