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State Rep. Elliott declines to participate in Boyle chamber forum

The Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce has announced three candidate forums for contested races this election, but a fourth one it wanted to host for state representative candidates Daniel Elliott and Bill Noelker is not happening.

“The Chamber of Commerce offered a fourth forum for House District 54 … Bill Noelker agreed to participate but incumbent Daniel Elliott declined,” a news release from the chamber reads.

“My opponent and I have debated on two separate occasions this year,” Elliott wrote in an email to The Advocate-Messenger Friday. “The first was a Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce forum moderated by John Nelson in February, and the second was a forum held by the Casey County Farm Bureau near the time of the special election in March.”

Asked Friday about Elliott declining to participate in a forum this time around, Noelker said, “I think it’s disgraceful.”

“Our representatives should at every opportunity they can agree to talk to the public about their positions on things, so the fact that he’s not interested or willing to do that is disgraceful,” he said.

Noelker said he and his campaign team have reached out to all the organizations and people who were involved in candidate events previously to let them know they are willing to participate in any event. But, he said, “we’ve heard nothing from anybody other than the chamber of commerce and I certainly applaud them for wanting to do these forums.”

Elliott said he has agreed to attend a meet-and-greet event at the Boyle County Public Library later this month.

A library employee confirmed there is an event being organized by the Friends of the Boyle County Public Library from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 25, which is a “meet and greet for local elected officials.” Further details on the event were not immediately available.

Noelker and Elliott were the Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively, in a special election for the state representative seat representing Boyle and Casey counties. The election was necessitated by the departure of former state Rep. Mike Harmon, who was elected state auditor last November.

Elliott defeated Noelker in the special election 4,275-3,040. Noelker won by a slim margin in Boyle County but Elliott dominated in Casey County.

Harmon’s term expires this year, meaning the winner of the special election only received the seat for nine months and the campaign for the next term began almost immediately.

Noelker was unopposed as the Democratic nominee. When Elliott won in a three-way Republican primary, it set up a rematch of the special election on Nov. 8.