Petroleum Club and McInnis disagree on canceled news conference

Republican gubernatorial candidate McInnis didn’t show up for a scheduled news conference after his speech before the Denver Petroleum Club yesterday.

The Colorado Independent reported that McInnis spokesperson Sean Duffy told journalists, who were waiting for McInnis after his speech, that McInnis was unaware of the press conference. The Denver Post quoted Duffy as saying McInnis had “other events.” (I was not aware of the Post’s reporting in an earlier version of this.)

Another journalist, who was one of the group of reporters waiting for McInnis, told me that Duffy entered the room and told reporters that the Petroleum Club hadn’t “told him [McInnis] about the press availability, but Duffy said he’d schedule individual meetings with anybody who wanted one.”

I asked Joyce Witte, President of the Denver Petroleum Club, if it was true that the McInnis Campaign wasn’t informed about the news conference.

“No, he did know about it, and I am not sure why he decided not to participate,” Witte told me. “It was my sense it was a last-minute decision on behalf of his campaign.”

I wanted to be sure I had this right, so I asked Witte, “But you’re sure he got the message, or Sean got that message somehow, because Sean is putting the blame on you guys?”

“Nope. They knew about it.”

Both McInnis and Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper spoke to the Denver Petroleum Club. A press conference with Hickenlooper took place, as planned, before his speech. McInnis was supposed to answer questions from reporters after his address to the group.

Hickenlooper sat down with about a dozen reporters and took questions not only about oil and gas issues, but about healthcare, immigration, stimulus funding, and more. At one point, the Mayor said he thought the press conference was going to be about oil-and-gas issues only, but he answered most of the questions put to him. (He told one reporter he’d have to get back to him on a question related to state legislation about a national identity card.)

Hickenlooper’s spokesperson George Merritt told me that his campaign was aware of the scheduled press conference well in advance.

I was on the press list for Petroleum Club event, which was moderated by Adam Schrager of 9News, and I attended half of it. I didn’t see a single organizational flaw there. The planned press events with both candidates were listed on press materials emailed to me two weeks in advance.

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