Attendees at the Men's Breakfast on Thursday at in Seekonk only got to meet one of the two candidates on the ballot in this month's special selectmen election. Candidate Paul Buckley said he wasn't there because he didn't receive an invitation. Event organizer Don Kinniburgh theorized Buckley was advised by three current selectmen not to attend.
Kinniburgh, a former selectman and veterans agent as well as an admitted supporter of Buckley's opponent Nelson Almeida, said he sent an email to Buckley about the event and invited him in person during last week's selectmen meeting. He said Buckley told him he would be there. Buckley told Seekonk Patch this didn't happen.
"I think maybe the three kings talked him out of it," Kinniburgh said. "Nine years I've been doing it, and we invite the candidates in for an informational session. It's not a debate, it's an opportunity for the older people to ask some questions and it is no pressure on anybody."
He added, "Seems to be a trend with Mr. Buckley not wanting to show up to these events," referring to Buckley's last month's debate hosted by the Seekonk Concerned Citizens because he said the "organization has no credibility" and the debate organizer David Saad is a man "known as someone with an agenda."
When asked who the "three kings" are, Kinniburgh said they are "the three selectmen that come out with letters to the editor backing Paul Buckley."
It appears he was referring to Gary Sagar, Bob McLintock and Francis Cavaco, but only one of those three men has written a letter to in support of Buckley. Cavaco noted this in an email to Patch after being informed of Kinniburgh's accusation.
"I never sent a letter to the editor, nor will I, for a person who is running for office," Cavaco wrote. "I want Don to come up with the letter with my name on it saying that I am backing Paul Buckley. We live in America. Tell that to Don!"
Buckley told Patch he never received the email invitation Kinniburgh says he sent. Kinniburgh told him "about an email" at last week's selectmen meeting, but he never specified what it was, Buckley said.
Kinniburgh forwarded Patch a copy of what appears to be an email invitation sent Sept. 1 to Buckley. Patch cannot confirm if the email is authentic or if Buckley received it.
As for Kinniburgh's statement about selectmen writing letters in favor of Buckley's campaign, Buckley said there is nothing wrong with that happening.
"It's not unusual for a selectman to support other candidates," Buckley said. "Carol Bragg did that before she quit and she supported [Michael] Brady/[Bob] Richardson in well-documented letters to the editor."
Election Day is Sept. 24. The winner of the contest, which also includes write-in candidate Jeffrey Starr Mararian, will fill the selectmen seat made vacant in June by .