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Eye On Boise

‘Idaho Debates’ kick off Tuesday

Candidates facing off in Idaho's May 25 election for the Idaho Supreme Court and in primary races for Congress and governor will debate live on statewide television as part of the "Idaho Debates," starting next Tuesday with the two candidates in a contested race for the Idaho Supreme Court, incumbent Justice Roger Burdick and challenger Judge John Bradbury. The series of debates, sponsored by the Idaho Press Club, the Idaho League of Women Voters and an array of partners and aired live statewide on Idaho Public Television, will be held before a live audience for the first time, in the new Capitol Auditorium in the west wing of the state capitol basement.

Gov. Butch Otter today declined to participate in the gubernatorial debate, which will feature GOP challengers Rex Rammell and Sharon Ullman, and will take place on May 18. Otter, in a letter from his campaign manager, Debbie Field, said he objected to criteria limiting the debate to those candidates who are actively campaigning and would prefer that all those listed on the ballot be present, though at an earlier GOP Lincoln Day event attended by candidates, when Otter was asked by Rammell if he'd debate him, Otter responded with a flat "No." Click below to read Field's letter.

GOP candidates for the 2nd District congressional seat, including incumbent Mike Simpson, will debate on May 9th, and  Republican candidates for the 1st District congressional seat, including Raul Labrador and Vaughn Ward, will debate on May 11th.

“The IDAHO DEBATES are the only live televised statewide events that will be broadcast during the primary season," said host Thanh Tan of Idaho Public TV. "In many instances, these debates serve as the only way Idahoans from all corners of the state can hear from the candidates vying to represent them.” There will be 130 seats in the auditorium available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open May 4 at 7:00 p.m. for the 8 p.m. (Mountain time) Supreme Court debate; cell phones, signs and outbursts such as applause or derisive shouts are prohibited during the debates. Here's the full schedule:

* Supreme Court, Tuesday May 4th, airs at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific
* 2nd CD, Sunday, May 9th, 7 p.m.
* 1st CD, Tuesday, May 11th, airs at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific
* Governor's race, Tuesday, May 18th, airs at 8 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Pacific

                  April 27, 2010

Idaho Debates 
Attn:  Elinor Chehey 
P.O. Box 6808 
Boise, ID   83708-0808

Dear Mrs. Chehey,

I write today to respectfully decline your invitation to participate in the Idaho 2010 Primary Gubernatorial Debate co-sponsored by Idaho Public Television, the Idaho Press Club, the League of Women Voters and various media groups.

It should not be surprising that I disagree with your criteria, looking for proof of an active campaign in order for each candidate to participate in the debate.  As a publicly funded institution, IPTV should be expected to set a higher standard, allowing all Idaho citizens access to a public debate.  Six Republican candidates met the deadline set forth in Idaho law and filed paperwork to run for the office of Governor. All should have been invited to attend, regardless of whether a group determines them not qualified to participate.   

I’ve met some of my Primary opponents at Lincoln Day festivities around the state during the past two months. Each of us had ample opportunity to get voters acquainted with our issues and priorities.  I will continue to meet with constituents as Governor and maintain an active campaign separate and apart from official business as I hear directly from the people about their challenges, their hopes and their fears. 

                  Your browser may not support display of this image. As Always – Idaho, “Esto Perpetua”  

              C.L. “Butch”  Otter

                                    Governor of Idaho 

Cc:  Thanh Tan

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.