A candidate forum between incumbent Republican Del. Barbara Comstock and Democrat Kathleen Murphy in Great Falls has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at the Grange, 9818 Georgetown Pike.
The forum, hosted by the Great Falls Citizens Association, was originally scheduled for much earlier this month, but organizers canceled it hours beforehand due to "outside disruption."
The association worried that gun violence prevention groups, and perhaps gun rights groups, would try to hijack the event, causing traffic and crowding concerns.
One gun control advocate emailed Patch a photo of about 20 people who had showed up to question Comstock.
Organizers said they would look for a new venue that would better serve the community — but ended up rescheduling the debate in the exact same place.
The Great Falls Citizens Association posted the following information on its website:
"For many decades, GFCA has held an annual Candidates' Program so that county, state and federal candidates could appear before Great Falls residents, express their views on issues important to our community, and answer questions in the best tradition of town hall America. The GFCA program is the only non-partisan forum consistently offered to Great Falls residents who wish to cut through the clutter of attack ads and make informed personal decisions on the candidates. Great Falls voters value the opportunity to hear incumbents discuss their positions and actions and hear challengers present how they differ. Our community has a history of asking candidates tough questions and demanding straightforward answers. Civil discourse with the polite expression of a range of views has always been our goal and practice.
GFCA anticipates a lively, civil, and orderly forum for candidates to express their views, including rebuttals if warranted. Prior to October 8th, debate questions were submitted to the GFCA Debate Team. The moderator will read questions selected, including some that may be controversial. Great Falls residents are encouraged to attend the debate on Friday, November 1st and participate in the the election on Tuesday, November 5th."
The Democratic and Republican candidates for Fairfax County sheriff will also participate in Friday's event, followed by a brief review of the school bond ballot referendum.