On Thursday night during the GOP presidential candidates’ debate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich mentioned during one of his responses that Congressman Dan Burton was in Jacksonville campaigning for him.
"When I heard that, I wish I could say that I was surprised that Congressman Burton was too busy campaigning for someone else, while ignoring the voters in his own district by not participating in candidate forums here at home," said Dr. John McGoff a candidate for the 5th Congressional District seat. "The fact that he was in Florida in January, where golf courses are plentiful, was not lost on me either."
In the last two weeks, there have been two candidate forums: one in Howard County and one in Pike Township in Marion County. Congressman Burton was invited to both but declined to participate. At these events the candidates answered questions from the audience regarding national issues affecting voters in the 5th District.
"Congressman Burton takes the 5th District voters for granted and has for years," McGoff said. "He's been in Washington since 1982, and until I ran against him in the 2008 primary, he never had a challenger. Since he didn't have to campaign for re-election he stayed in Washington. Most people will tell you Congressman Burton makes only obligatory visits to the District."
At last week’s Howard County GOP Century Club Forum, Howard County GOP Chairman Craig Dunn said, "The 2012 Congressional election will not be about politics as usual. The Howard County Republican Party and the Republican voters of the 5th Congressional District are deeply disappointed by the Congressman's failure to participate."
As of today, there are four more candidate forums scheduled throughout the District and the Congressman has indicated he will not be participating in any of these events.