Politics can be an interesting spectator sport.
On one side of Iowa, you have Democrats demanding a debate with Republican nominee Randy Feenstra in the Fourth Congressional District. On another side, you have Republicans demanding a debate with Democrat Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer.
Now, to be fair, Feenstra has engaged in multiple forums/debates already with Democrat J.D. Scholten. While his campaign turned down the KTIV debate, they have done others.
In the First District, Finkenauer only did one debate and it was over Labor Day weekend. It was relatively short.
Hinson, Finkenauer’s GOP challenger, has created a persona named Lefty Chickenauer.
Look, Lefty is having fun around #IA01. On a serious note, voters deserve the chance to make an informed decision. Congresswoman Finkenauer should accept one of the debate invitations from @KCRG, @iowasnewsnow, or @KWWL. #IA01 https://t.co/2sM4eqJIBH
— Ashley Hinson (@hinsonashley) September 23, 2020
The Republican Party of Iowa was quick to criticize Finkenauer for refusing additional debates. And for good reason.
I am not so sure why Democrats are upset that Feenstra’s campaign turned down the KTIV debate. Again, the two candidates have participated in multiple debates and forums already.
But can I suggest a solution?
To some extent, it has to be the media outlets that want to host these debates, right? They’re willing to give the time and opportunity to candidates to address voters. How come this isn’t an option…
If a candidate refuses a forum or debate, ask if there’s another date that would work for them (maybe give them three to pick from). If they still refuse, then just have the candidates who are willing to show up perform.
Provide a platform to the candidates who want to make their case to the voters and let the ones who prefer to not show up stay home. That’s likely going to be the quickest, and easiest, fix to this problem.
Candidates will not want their opponent to get free time, unchallenged and uninterrupted. So just hold the debate anyway.
There’s no need for double-digit debates in an Iowa congressional district. But the candidates should do a debate for the major newspaper outlet as well as the largest TV market.
If Scholten wants to show up for a KTIV debate and Feenstra doesn’t, then Scholten should get time on KTIV.
If Hinson wants to show up to KCRG for a debate and Finkenauer doesn’t, then give Hinson the time.
Candidates will show up if their opponent is going to get that free time on local TV. I could almost guarantee it.