MT Senate 2014: 14 Debates?

Last week I wrote that there should always be at least two debates for the federal candidates after Labor Day.

Yesterday, U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis (D) challenged U.S. Congressman (and Senate candidate) Steve Daines (R) and Roger Roots (L) to 14 debates. According to a press release from Curtis, the debates would be held “in the state’s seven major cities and on Montana’s seven Indian reservations.”

Some may say this is a “Hail Mary” from the Curtis campaign and it probably is. Daines should debate Curtis and Roots at least twice and stop trying to run out the clock because he has a substantial lead in the polls.

Curtis said, “Montana voters deserve a fair and honest debate so they can have as much information as possible before casting their ballots.”

Curtis is correct.

I like the idea of having debates in the state’s seven major cities and on Montana’s seven Indian reservations. With the limited time left before absentee ballots are mailed, I have my doubts that 14 debates could be scheduled, although two debates could easily be scheduled.

Evan Barrett of Butte recently had his guest opinion called “Political debates strengthen our democracy” published in the Billings Gazette. Barrett wrote about Ted Schwinden and Jack Ramirez participating in 25 Montana gubernatorial debates in 1980, and about Marc Racicot and Dorothy Bradley having 35 gubernatorial debates in 1992.

Barrett also wrote about Montana’s news media and debates saying they “can not only fulfill its responsibility by hosting debates, it can take candidates to task for their refusal to participate.”

Today the Great Falls Tribune editorial board has a “Dear Candidates for federal office in Montana” letter posted on their opinion page encouraging candidates to debate in Great Falls on October 23 or 24. They also add, “It takes courage to debate.”

The Tribune is correct – it does take courage to debate. Montana’s news media should let the public know every day which candidates lack that courage.

 

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