Empty Chair, Brooklyn Style: Mindy Meyer Skips Senate Debate



At the start of her campaign, Brooklyn state Senate candidate Mindy Meyer came across as out of her league when she was given a basic pop quiz on politics on network TV.

She's had lots of time since then to bone up, but still passed up a debate on the issues with her opponent at the invitation of The Jewish Channel on cable.

Meyer initially asked for the date to be postponed from Oct. 12 because it was too close to the Jewish holidays, according to TJC, but never followed up.

"The Jewish Channel gave the Meyer campaign every opportunity to try to schedule the debate to accommodate the candidate, but never received any communication from the Meyer campaign indicating a time at which she could or would appear," says TJC news anchor Steven I. Weiss.

Meyer's opponent, Democrat incumbent Kevin Parker, was ready, willing and able to appear and did so alongside an empty chair, Clint Eastwood-style, on Oct. 25th (see below).

In an email response to The Jewish Week's inquiry, Meyer said she told The Jewish Channel she had commitments with midterms at Touro Law School and got no response. "Initially they blackmailed me that if I do not give them a date that I can attend, they will have me represented by an empty chair," she wrote. "I informed them that I would check my schedule and get back to them; nevertheless, they proceeded with the debate."

Another reason she didn't attend, she added, was Parker's notorious history of trouble with anger management. "What would stop Parker from getting violent if I say something he doesn't agree with?"

Parker was a perfect gentleman toward the empty chair, however.

Meyer, a political novice and Orthodox Jew, is running a kitschy campaign on the Conservative party ballot based on the notion that Parker hasn't done anything for the district, which is mostly in Flatbush.

The last Orthodox challenger who tried to unseat Parker, in the 2006 Democrat primary, was Simcha Felder, who fell short and kept his job in the City Council.