Galvin says he declined debate because it would take too long

State House News Service / October 28, 2010

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Secretary of State William F. Galvin said late Tuesday that he did not have 90 minutes available during the day yesterday to debate his two challengers in next week’s election, casting off the criticism from one of his opponents as laughable, given the independent’s history of not voting.

Galvin told the State House News Service that he informed Suffolk University Monday that he would not be able to participate in its debate unless the school and his opponents agreed to shorten the forum.

“I said I could do 60 minutes; I couldn’t possibly do 90 minutes in the middle of a workday a week before the election,’’ Galvin said.

The Rappaport Center at Suffolk University announced Tuesday that it had canceled the debate because it did not have sufficient time to promote the event after waiting to lock in the candidates.

Independent challenger Jim Henderson condemned Galvin following the announcement, accusing the incumbent Democrat of preferring to “hide away from the people.’’

Galvin responded calling Henderson a “fringe candidate, part of the Jill Stein brigade.’’

“I have to run an election,’’ Galvin said. “Mr. Henderson doesn’t even vote, so he doesn’t have to worry about that.

“It’s hard to take someone seriously when they’re running to be chief election officer of the state and they don’t even vote.’’

Galvin, who has begun airing television ads to promote his candidacy, said Henderson has missed the last 23 local elections in his hometown of Stow. Republican William Campbell is also on the ballot.

In an interview with the Globe, Henderson said Galvin’s allegation about him not voting was incorrect. Henderson said proof can easily be found in the central voter registry Galvin’s office maintains.

“He wants people to believe I’ve been negligent in voting,’’ Henderson said. “If the databases are wrong, then that’s a whole other problem.’’

He has voted in 19 of 27 elections listed in the database under his name. he said.

Globe correspondent Ashley Portero contributed to this report.