Who's Up for a Debate?
Well, we’ve reached that point in the election season when the challengers call for candidates’ debates and the incumbents nervously try to avoid eye contact with anyone even broaching the idea.
Earlier this week, Justin Hurst, a candidate for an at-large City Council seat, sent out a press release saying he “demands” a debate among the at-large candidates. The text of the release was a little more subdued, with Hurst saying he was “calling on all the media outlets to strongly consider organizing a [televised] debate or forum,” in conjunction with community groups.
“Considering that there is not a Mayor’s race this year, City Council is the highest office that voters will see on their ballot in November,” Hurst said. “Springfield voters must have the opportunity to hear the views of candidates and identify those individuals who they feel are most qualified to lead Springfield on the City Council for the next two years.”
Hurst added, “I know I would personally love the opportunity to let the voters of Springfield know my vision for the City and I am sure my opponents would like the same.”
I wouldn’t be so sure about that last part.
Earlier this month, it was Orlando Ramos, a third-time candidate for the Ward 8 Council seat, calling for debate. Specifically, he’s challenging incumbent John Lysak to a minimum of three debates, spread among the ward’s neighborhoods.
“I think that the voters deserve the opportunity to hear directly from both candidates and ask questions—in order for them to be able to make an informed decision on who to vote for come November. It is my hope that my opponent will accept the challenge,” Ramos said, adding that he planned to contact community organizations about hosting the debates.
Hurst and Ramos are, of course, absolutely right to call for debates; candidates ought to answer questions and engage in intelligent discussion about crucial issues—or, at least, demonstrate to voters their inability to do so.