Toomey, Connolly Trade Barbs About Tax Returns, Debate Schedule
State Rep. Timothy Toomey released three years of federal tax returns and called on his challengers to do the same.
The debate about debates in the race for state representative in the 26th Middlesex District, which pits incumbent State Rep. Timothy Toomey, a Democrat, against challengers Mike Connolly, an independent, and Thomas Vasconcelos, a Republican, was still taking place as of Wednesday night. The candidates have agreed to debate, but they haven't agreed to times, places and ground rules.
Meanwhile, Toomey released three years of federal tax returns on Sept. 25 and called on his challengers to do the same.
In a statement about the tax returns, Toomey said, “I think the public deserves to know who they are really voting for." The statement added that "calls for transparent and accountable government should extend to the candidates themselves."
In an email to Somerville Patch, Connolly, who's running a "no money" campaign—his website accepts campaign contributions of $0.00—responded by saying, "I have submitted detailed reports on my finances to the State Ethics Commission and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance."
He said, "My understanding is that Tim's decision to release his returns was just his way of responding to claims that he is 'double dipping' (by holding on to two public offices at the same time)."
Toomey also serves on the Cambridge City Council, a fact that has attracted criticism from Connolly.
The "no money" challenger also said that "if a majority of the state legislators from Somerville and Cambridge are releasing their tax returns, then I will release mine as well."
There are currently 13 state senators and representatives from Somerville and Cambridge (there would be 14, but the 24th Middlesex District seat is currently empty). That said, if Vasconcelos, who's 25 years old, releases tax returns, it could pressure Connolly to do the same.
Vasconcelos, in an email to Somerville Patch sent Tuesday night, said he would release a statement about the issue within 24 hours. As of 8 p.m. Wednesday night, 24 hours later, Somerville Patch had not received a statement from the Republican.
The matter of debates—about when, where and how to hold debates—was still up in the air as of Wednesday night.
On Sept. 24, Connolly sent an email to members of local media saying that debates would be held on Oct. 16 and 23. One local paper printed the information, but Toomey promptly sent a livid reply saying that the Oct. 23 date was never set in stone. He said he can't make it that day due to the annual meeting of the Community Action Agency of Somerville.
He said the campaigns had met and agreed to release a joint press release about the debates and was shocked that Connolly had unilaterally sent information about them.
"Either Mr. Connolly is too busy using your paper to attack me personally to communicate with his own campaign manager, or his campaign never intended to negotiate the details of our debates in good faith and has resorted to the same kind of classic, dirty tricks that he has publicly decried," Toomey wrote.
In his recent email to Somerville Patch, Connolly wrote, "Nothing is official in terms of the debate schedule. Indeed, it has been very difficult to find a time that can accommodate Tim's busy schedule as a Cambridge City Councillor and also a candidate for re-election to the State House."