Just before Farmfest, Congressman Tim Walz challenged Republican primary contenders to commit to three debates. Both agreed; the first confrontation will take place at a country club in Byron, the Rochester Post Bulletin;s Heather Carlson reports in Quist and Walz to face-off in Rochester debate Sept. 27:
It will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with lunch included.
The debate is sponsored by Rochester Public Utilities and partners include the Post-Bulletin, KTTC-TV, Minnesota Public Radio and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. KTTC-TV anchor Tom Overlie will serve as the debate moderator. . . .
The cost to attend is $25 for chamber members and $35 for non-members. To register, call 288-1122 or go to the chamber's website.
Both candidates are skilled debaters, so this should be quite the show.
Quist wants more debates, including one focused on the national debt, Carlson reports. It's not likely to happen. Since being elected in 2006, Walz has stuck to three debates.
Ironically, Walz declined to take part in the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce debate in 2010 because of the cost to the audience. Carlson reported in Debating the debates: Demmer, Walz campaigns busy negotiating:
DFL Congressman Tim Walz's campaign kicked off a debate over just how many debates the 1st Congressional District candidates should have in the lead up to the Nov. 2 campaign. Walz's campaign sent a letter to his three opponents inviting them to participate in three, 90 minute debates. One debate would be in Rochester on jobs and the economy, a second would be in Mankato on veterans issues and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The third would be a television debate.
Republican Randy Demmer's campaign promptly responded to the invite accepting all three debates and asking for eight more debates. . .
Walz's campaign manager Richard Carlbom emphasized in his letter the campaign's three requirements for participating in a debate. One of those is that the forum be free and open to the public, which has not traditionally been the case with the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce debates. The forums must also be open to the media and organized and moderated by a notable, non-partisan entity.
A row between Walz and the Chamber ensued, the paper later reported in Debate Over Debate Rages Between Walz, D-MN, Rochester Chamber. Lesson learned, apparently.
Walz, Demmer, Steve Wilson and non-party aligned candidate Lars Johnson met in KSTP/KAAL televised debate, a feisty Debate Minnesota forum at Minnesota State at Mankato, and a live-audience televised debate sponsored by AARP and the Minnesota New Network.
Photo: Congressman Tim Walz.