A Democrat candidate for governor in Connecticut refused to leave an event that she had crashed and things got ugly. Seven Democratic candidates were invited to a forum, but Lee Whitnum was told she could not participate.
When Whitnum was told she could not take part in the forum, she didn’t walk out, but instead took a seat and prepared to fight. “I have worked very hard, how dare you?” said Lee Whitnum at the debate. Enter the police.
— Alfonso Robinson (@ctblogger) April 10, 2018
Brookfield police said that the forum was a private event put on by the Brookfield Democratic Town Committee and Whitnum was told she was not welcome.
“I would be furious if my Democratic chair kept a candidate from me,” Whitnum said in a statement. “The town Democratic chair is not there to be a screening agent. This was a town Democratic event, not a private television station event. The public was invited and the declared Democratic candidates are to appear. The invited does not say ‘just a select few.’ It says the Democratic candidates. I am one, and I should be there.”
Lee Whitnum was rambling onstage at the candidates’ debate in Brookfield High School when cops stepped in to remove her from the venue. The officers were forced to intervene and attempt to escort the Democrat from the stage. She resisted arrest repeatedly, eventually falling to the ground, screaming and deliberately going limp. The police officers wound up having to drag her off the stage while the audience applauded.
“I said, ‘It’s a public forum no?’,” said Whitnum. “I had every right to be at that debate. I am a declared candidate for governor. My paperwork was filed more than a year ago. I told them I would be attending,” Whitnum said in a statement. Prior to the Democrat being dragged off, the other candidates vacated the stage quickly. She was later charged with second-degree breach of peace and simple trespass. For some reason, they did not charge her with resisting arrest.
FOX61 spoke to Whitnum, 57, to ask why she made a scene at the debate. She said she had called members of the Democratic Party and told them she would be attending and got no objection. The members claim she was told not to come. “If I had just walked off, I feel like I would’ve been humiliated,” added Whitnum. Evidently, having to be dragged off by police officers is not humiliating to this woman.
The Connecticut Democratic Party Chairman, Nick Balletto released a statement after the scene: “We invite people from all walks of life to participate in our Party and the electoral process. But based on Lee Whitnum’s behavior tonight, and based on her behavior in the past, it’s clear that Lee Whitnum should not hold elected office and does not represent the Democratic Party.”
“I have no idea what Nick Balletto is talking about. I think Nick Balletto is referring to the six years ago in a gubernatorial debate, me calling Chris Murphy a bad name,” added Whitnum. In 2012, she debated Senator Chris Murphy and called him a “whore” who “sells his soul” during a televised debate. Whitnum says she wants people to know she is a serious candidate who is looking to make changes in the judiciary system in reference to her legal battle with Judge Jane Emons who presided over her divorce appeal.
Laura Orban, chair of the Brookfield Democratic Town Committee, provided the following statement to NBC Connecticut: “We thank the seven invited candidates for sharing their visions for Connecticut and for accurately representing our Democratic values, and we have no further comment on the incident other than to thank the Brookfield Police for their prompt and professional handling of the situation.”
The Connecticut Democratic Party also released a statement on the situation: “There is so much at stake in the gubernatorial election, and we are only a month away from our convention. We need to be focused on the candidates in the race who are going to talk about moving the state forward. Lee Whitnum’s behavior was inappropriate, and frankly it’s not the first time. There’s no place for that type of behavior in our party, and there is too much at stake this fall.”
Whitnum was released on a $500 bond and is expected to show up in court next week. The Democrat added she is not sure what to do now, but is planning to attend any upcoming debates she is invited to. Which will most likely be zero after this embarrassment.
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