Clay County short-changed in U.S. House race

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I share frustration with several others in the area this week after learning that an invitation issued by the Daily Reporter, on behalf of other regional media entities and the Clay County Fair, for a live debate between Rep. Steve King and challenger Christie Vilsack was rejected.

The Vilsack campaign issued a release this week featuring 10 schedule dates featuring both candidates - eight of which are debates and two are listed as forums - at various locations around the newly-formed U.S. House District 4.

Our invitation was submitted to both campaigns on June 5. On June 7, representatives from both sides reportedly came together to begin crafting a schedule of joint public endeavors to get the message out to the district's constituents.

We were optimistic, feeling that the first day of the Clay County Fair, which typically draws in excess of 60,000 to the "World's Greatest County Fair," would be a marketable venue for such a highly-anticipated showdown between the two tremendously opposite candidates.

Imagine the disappointment when we learned the two sides had apparently agreed to make their visit, on the first day of the fair a forum.

Loosely translated, the forum boils down to the two political rivals appearing at different times, offering stump speeches.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of stump speeches. I want some good, old-fashioned, head-to-head debates between the two political figures who have been talking about each other in commercials and public appearances for the past several months.

I'm sick of the he-said, she-said. Let's talk this out face-to-face on an issue-by-issue basis. Unfortunately, the people of Clay County aren't going to get to see that live.

But you can travel an hour to the west and watch the two meet for a debate in Orange City at ... oh, wait a minute ... a date to be announced. We got passed over for something that hasn't even been scheduled yet. Are you kidding me.

I've personally contacted both campaigns. Representation for King said they would be more than willing to change the format and debate in Spencer.

With half the battle won, I was optimistic that the same conclusion could be reached with Vilsack's people. Not the case, as they insisted on sticking to the agreed upon format.

When asked for some reasoning about the slight to Spencer and the Clay County Fair, when common sense indicates the fair provides the perfect venue for the debate, no response was provided.

Sadly, I guess we're going to have to live with it.

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  • I'm disappointed for the exact opposite reason you are, most likely, Randy. I think declining to debate King in the area his conservative base is located -- the extreme NW of Iowa -- is completely missing an opportunity. If she wants to present herself as a viable opponent to King, she *must* come here and say things that make sense to our crowd.

    While the Fair crowd is a more diverse cross section, locals are mostly conservative, and mostly King supporters, but include some conservatives who don't like everything King has said and done. She could reach those individuals, plus the cross sections of others District 4-ers.

    Just because District 4 takes in Boone and some other less conservative locations in no way means she should not give her best to "us," or give up just because it seems like this is all King country.

    If she was really ready to step up, she'd want to step up in "King country" and tell us some ideas she has that are good for everyone. Give King a challenge for once.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Sat, Jul 14, 2012, at 3:27 PM
  • I want the two candidates to debate period. I believe the constituents are entitled to it. Let them both address the issues, share their ideas, answer the questions and them the voting public can make their choice based on knowledge rather than stump speech rhetoric. I've always though debates are a part of the process. Even before this campaign. While it's no secret that I lean to the conservative side of the coin, I've been disappointed that we haven't had debates in previous elections in this region because I think it's a disservice to the voters when they are denied the give-and-take.

    -- Posted by randy cauthron on Mon, Jul 16, 2012, at 4:46 PM
  • all though I don't tend to agree with King because of some of his voting ethics, I do believe that vilsack is not the answere. She does not want to ever answere questions when asked. So to me this means she is scared and shady. How can you win votes with no answeres? Oh well how many more years with king? cuss that is who is going to make it in.

    -- Posted by acerdj on Thu, Jul 19, 2012, at 5:48 AM
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