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Idaho Senate hopefuls debate, minus Risch

Four of the candidates for Idaho’s open U.S. Senate seat ripped into the fifth, GOP candidate Jim Risch, as they debated on live statewide TV on Thursday night while Risch declined to join them. “I would ask him … why he is spending so much time lying to the Idaho people,” Libertarian Kent Marmon declared, criticizing Risch’s campaign ads and public statements. “I would ask him why he thinks he has to do that in order to be elected to the U.S. Senate.” Independent candidate Pro-Life said he wants to know why Risch isn’t speaking out for banning abortion nationwide. “He said that it’s a state issue – now, you could say slavery was a state issue,” Pro-Life said.

Democrat Larry LaRocco criticized Risch’s move as governor to reduce property taxes while raising sales taxes. “People want change,” LaRocco said. “They’ve now had a chance to digest the tax shift. People are paying more sales tax. Really what he did is he gave the property tax relief to the bulk of the largest corporations in the state – we are all paying for it.” Independent Rex Rammell said, “I don’t like Jim Risch’s principles. He doesn’t follow the Republican Party’s platform – he’s not conservative.”

The four candidates squared off in a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Idaho Press Club, and broadcast live statewide on Idaho Public Television. The matchup was part of the “Idaho Debates,” a series of debates in the major Idaho races that’s taken place each election cycle for the past three decades. This fall’s Idaho Debates also were co-sponsored by The Associated Press, the Idaho Statesman, KIVI-TV, Boise State Radio, the Idaho State Broadcasters Association and the Idaho Allied Daily Newspapers. Risch was the only major-party candidate to skip the debates, which also featured match-ups earlier between the candidates for both of Idaho’s seats in Congress. You can read my full story here at spokesmanreview.com.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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