An admission from Bryan Lentz
As with every other candidate, we offered him the opportunity to introduce himself – and what he thought were the key issues in the campaign for the 7th District Congressional seat - as part of our video presentation.
We also opened up our questioning, as we have with the other interviews, with the question that seems first and foremost in the minds of our readers – jobs and the economy. We asked him if he thought the federal stimulus plan was a good thing and what he would have done differently.
For a good half hour, the name of Jim Schneller did not come up. He is the third-party candidate in the race, along with Democrat Lentz and Republican standard-bearer Pat Meehan.
It is widely believed that Schneller is on the ballot solely via the dogged efforts of Lentz supporters, who helped him collect the necessary signatures on his petition ballots. Of course, the belief is that the conservative Schneller siphons votes away from Meehan, thus bettering Lentz’s chance in the bitterly contested election.
Lentz surprised me yesterday when he basically admitted that he knew his workers were involved.
Lentz qualified his comments by saying that Schneller had already made the decision to get into the race.
“If somebody has already made the decision to run, I don’t think that ‘helping’ with the process of signature petitions was improper,” Lentz told the board.
The Meehan camp was not buying. They fired off a press release almost immediately after the words went out onto the Internet via our live stream.
“It’s about time Bryan Lentz would admit what the media has been reporting on for months,” the statement from Meehan campaign spokesman Brian Kendro said. “Despite his efforts to fool voters about his role in supporting Schneller’s candidacy, he was forced to come clean, and he should apologize for not being forthright. Bryan Lentz felt he was not a strong enough candidate ro run on his own record that he had to ensure a shill candidate was on the ballot, too. Once again, voters cannot trust a word Bryan Lentz says.”
Actually, there was another word I wondered about in terms of Lentz’s admission.
I asked him if he felt badly about the incident and if he had it to do over again, would he have done anything differently. That’s because during the session I got the impression that Lentz does in fact regret the whole thing and probably was not especially well-served by those in his camp who orchestrated the help for Schneller.
“That’s an open question in my mind,” Lentz responded, adding that he does not consider the incident “a mortal sin.”
“But I think about it.”
He’s not the only one.