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.