In the grand scheme of things, missing a debate isn’t likely to have much impact on a candidate’s chances to win an election.
So, when Eugene Yu failed to show at the headquarters of Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta on Sunday, one can debate whether it was a tactical error on his part, or a good decision allowing him to avoid uncomfortable questions from the press and his opponents in the home stretch to election day.
According to the folks at GPB, Yu had originally confirmed he would be there along with the four other GOP candidates running to take on John Barrow in the race for the 12th Congressional District: Rick Allen, Delvis Dutton, John Stone and Diane Vann.
Yu’s absence only came to light when a GPB producer called him about 30 minutes before taping to see where he was. At that point, the debate organizers found out he was still an hour away from Atlanta. He was represented by an empty lectern.
Naturally, there was some speculation that Yu was a no-show because he wanted to dodge questions about his campaign finances, which have been raised by my colleague in Atlanta, Walter Jones.
Jones’ most recent story questioned the source of Yu’s $736,000 personal loan to his campaign, which seems mysterious since he didn’t list nearly that much in liquid assets in his financial disclosure. The story also revisited some campaign donations that appear to exceed what the law allows.
When reached by phone Monday, Yu said he missed the debate because of a prior engagement at Waynesboro Baptist Church on Sunday.
“My people never confirmed” with GPB, he said.
Perhaps, but another little bird tells me he was advised by his campaign handlers not to go to Atlanta, and that he watched the debate Sunday in Augusta.
As for the campaign finance questions, Yu dismissed the topic without answering direct questions.
“That story was covered two months ago,” he said. “There is nothing wrong going on.”
He said he felt like his story of a hard working immigrant obtaining the “American Dream” was being ignored by Augusta media.
“By the way, I’m going to win this election,” he said.
Well, he’s getting some attention now, but it might be the wrong kind.