Heated debate

Secretary of State William Galvin (left) debated GOP opponent David D’Arcangelo Monday in Malden. 

MALDEN -- Secretary of State William Galvin took part in an at times combative debate with his two challengers Monday in what may be the candidates' only face-to-face encounter before Election Day.

Republican David D'Arcangelo, a Malden city councilor, and Green-Rainbow candidate Daniel Factor joined Galvin at Malden High School's library for the debate.

D'Arcangelo accused Galvin of personal attacks in the media throughout the campaign and said that "by extension, you are insulting any other person who wants to dare to run" for office.

"I haven't insulted you, I've insulted the things you've said," Galvin interrupted. When D'Arcangelo asked if he would have the chance to continue his statement, Galvin said "no, you don't have a chance to make misstatements."

Much of the debate concerned a question on lowering the state's age limit for voting to 16 or 17 years old. Galvin and Factor said they would support amending the state constitution to allow younger teens to vote.

D'Arcangelo initially said he did not support the idea, but later in the debate said he would be open to discussing it. The change in tone opened the door for Galvin to accuse D'Arcangelo of flipping his position mid-debate.

"You're getting an excellent lesson in how politicians try to change their mind," Galvin told the students after D'Arcangelo said he would be open to discussing lowering the age limit.

After the debate, D'Arcangelo reiterated he does not support altering the constitution, saying the political capital it would take to put the question before voters could be better spent on other issues.

Factor said he had never heard Galvin back the teen voting proposal until the debate.

"You'd think that at some point along the line he could have done something and at least spoke out to the initiate the process for youth voting," Factor said.

Factor said he wants to use the office to enhance regulations on corporations, which fall under the secretary's purview.

All the questions posed to the candidates were written by students and the engagement was moderated by two of the school's advanced placement government class teachers.

D'Arcangelo spend most of his debate time criticizing Galvin's record on voter enrollment and transparency since he was first elected in 1994. "Most of the people here and certainly all of the students, weren't even born when this person took office. He's in the Statehouse for 42 years. It is time for a change," D'Arcangelo said. Galvin served in the House prior to holding statewide office.

Galvin dismissed his challenger's criticisms and questioned his commitment to voting by pointing out that D'Arcangelo himself has a spotty record when it comes to getting to the ballot box. After the debate, he broadened his criticism to say Factor has missed elections as well.

"He doesn't vote. He doesn't vote. He missed four elections in the last five years. How can you be the chief elections officer and using your bully pulpit when you don't vote," Galvin asked.

The debate was organized by Galvin himself and moderated by Greg Hurley and Rick Tivnan, the school's two Advanced Placement History teachers. Several media outlets have tried to book Galvin, Factor and D'Arcangelo for debates and forums this year. Galvin said scheduling conflicts prevented some of the dates and that he rejects partisan or biased sponsors.

After commenting on his opponents' voting records, Galvin was asked by a reporter about any word on turnout for next week's election.

"Not yet. Maybe we'll get two more voters to come," Galvin said as he left the room, referring to his rivals.

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