Audio raises concerns, Huizenga camp offers explanation
A recent YouTube recording entitled ‘Huizenga Deadheads’ that has been circulating around and about apparently captures the voice of Representative Bill Huizenga addressing another group after Monday’s debate with Democratic challenger Dr. Rob Davidson. The audio has stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest on local social media.
We had a debate last night in Newaygo, the audio begins. And you all know who deadheads are, right? Deadheads are the folks that travel around following the Grateful Dead. Well we’ve got the political equivalent with my opponent. He’s got a group of folks who are traveling around with him everywhere he goes and last night we had somewhere like 5-600 people.They were by the way, complaining it wasn't big enough ..they wanted more.
We had a few folks there, but about a tenth of what they had. They were loud they were raucous they were demanding.......
It was quite shameful, really. They acted like third graders..no maybe third graders wouldn’t even act that way.
The day after the debate we reported the following on the N3 Pulse page:
“The crowd was likely leaning toward one of the candidates and their reaction to the answers given by the two definitely put this preference on display. However, outside of a few of what might very well be short spontaneous non-verbal reactions by some attendees (a bit of a groan here, maybe a snort or two there), the crowd remained polite, courteous and appeared to be genuinely interested in listening to what each candidate had to say. “
A comment on the article from reader Joann Delmar cites:
I agree, "People listened to what the two had to say. They listened and afterwards they could be seen interacting with each other...talking about what they had just witnessed and what they had just heard."
However, Rep. Huizenga shared with another audience that Newaygo participants were "Dead Heads" and "Third Graders". Any thoughts?
N3 contacted the congressman’s office and Campaign Chair Jim Barry replied with the following:
"Here's the story about Bill's comments that were not about Newaygo, or the people who were at the debate, or even all of our opponent's supporters. However, a small group of his supporters have a reputation that proceeds them.
“Congressman Bill Huizenga was addressing an enthusiastic group of over 150 grassroots GOP activists Tuesday night at the Ottawa GOP Reagan Day Dinner. His comments about Deadheads was an analogy to fans of a rock group, The Grateful Dead who were famous for following their favorite band wherever they went. We recognize many of the same faces we've seen ever since our Democrat opponent launched his political campaign at an official Congressional Town Hall over a year ago.
“Bill's comments about third grade behavior refers to a small group of our opponent's supporters who boo, hiss, give thumbs down, and have even booed an 8 year old Girl Scout being recognized at a Town Hall by Bill for her community service.
"But don't take our word about their third grade behavior. Following Bill's Town Hall in Grand Haven last year, The Editorial Board of the Grand Haven Tribune published an editorial on March 9, 2017 headlined 'Rudeness Has No Place in Grand Haven'. They went on that 'what occurred at the Lakeshore Middle School auditorium was disgraceful'. Adding 'Those who were rude, shouting, and cat-calling throughout the more than two hour forum, should be ashamed of themselves'. **
"This is the behavior Bill was referring to that we have seen throughout the campaign and is done by some our opponents supporters, some of whom don't even live in the district.
"There's also an issue that it was a private meeting that was covertly and possibly illegally recorded and distributed. That is an issue that will be dealt with later, for now we're focused on turning out our base and supporting GOP candidates up and down the ticket.”
**Note: Dr Davidson did not enter the race until June of 2017, 3 months after the editorial referenced appeared in the Grand Haven Tribune
Our thoughts, Ms. Delmar?
Each attendee Monday night may have experienced the event differently influenced either by their political views or possibly their seating selection. From our birds eye view there appeared to be an air of civility, a high level of interest and a crowd that seemed invested in listening.
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.