Stimpson campaign manager says mayor told forum organizer last week about scheduling conflict.

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s campaign on Wednesday fired back at accusations that he is ducking engagement with his challengers.

Stimpson did not appear Tuesday evening at a candidates forum sponsored by the Mobile Area Black Chamber of Commerce.

Sandy Stimpson Updated Headshot

Mayor Sandy Stimpson ... running for re-election. 

Organizers said Stimpson had informed them that afternoon that he would not be able to attend. Stephen Worley, the mayor’s campaign manager, said the mayor declined last week. On Wednesday, he provided FOX10 News with an email showing the campaign told the chamber on July 12 that the mayor had a conflict on Tuesday.

Worley rebuffed criticism from challengers Karlos Finley and Fred Richardson.

“The Finley-Richardson campaigns are asking Mobilians to believe them instead of what they see and hear every day,” he said in a statement. “The fact of the matter is that Mayor Stimpson answers questions from the citizens and the press every day without having them ahead of time - you only need to follow the news, check on social media, or read his nightly newsletter to know that he’s open, honest, and transparent with all Mobilians.”

Worley stated that the mayor cannot participate in every forum he is invited to, especially on short notice.

“In fact, he’s already participated in one candidate forum in addition to his full schedule of both campaign and city business,” he stated. “While we’ll evaluate each request as we receive them, one thing is certain: Sandy Stimpson will continue working and talking directly with Mobilians about his record, his real solutions to our challenges, and how his Administration continues to make the city we love a safer, more business and family friendly place.”

Stimpson drew fire from his challengers after Tuesday’s forum.

“It’s an injustice.,” said Finley, a Mobile municipal judge. “The citizens of the city of Mobile, for the mayor not to be present, we have these forums so that the citizens can see how we think on our feet.”

Richardson, a longtime city councilman, said the mayor has been allowed by some forum organizers to answer questions by himself after the other candidates have appeared.

“I’m not in favor of that,” he said. “Either come with the group, or just let it go.”

The municipal election is August 24.

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