Idaho elections: Otter backs out of Public TV debate

Gov. Butch Otter will not take part in a statewide televised debate, scheduled for May 18.

The explanation, as outlined in a letter this week: Only two of Otter's five GOP opponents were invited to debate.

Debate sponsors -- which include Idaho Public Television, the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club and media groups including the Statesman --
invite only candidates who provide evidence of an active campaign. Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman and Rex Rammell of Rexburg were the only
candidates to meet the criteria. (Disclosure: I was one of several people who helped review materials from the campaigns).

Otter joins senior Sen. Mike Crapo as debate no-shows this year. The difference is, Crapo turned down the debate because he believed his sole GOP
opponent, Skip Davis of Weiser, is not actively campaigning.

I guess there's always a reason.

The Ullman-Rammell debate will go on as scheduled, at 8 p.m. It will air on Public TV, and will take place at Capitol Auditorium at the Statehouse. You
can attend -- even if Otter won't.

Here is Otter's letter to Elinor Chehey of the League of Women Voters:

I write today to respectfully decline your invitation to participate in the Idaho 2010 Primary Gubernatorial Debate co-sponsored by Idaho Public
Television, the Idaho Press Club, the League of Women Voters and various media groups.

It should not be surprising that I disagree with your criteria, looking for proof of an active campaign in order for each candidate to participate in
the debate. As a publicly funded institution, IPTV should be expected to set a higher standard, allowing all Idaho citizens access to a public
debate. Six Republican candidates met the deadline set forth in Idaho law and filed paperwork to run for the office of Governor. All should have been
invited to attend, regardless of whether a group determines them not qualified to participate.

I've met some of my Primary opponents at Lincoln Day festivities around the state during the past two months. Each of us had ample opportunity to get
voters acquainted with our issues and priorities. I will continue to meet with constituents as Governor and maintain an active campaign separate and
apart from official business as I hear directly from the people about their challenges, their hopes and their fears.

Get Twitter updates on my blog and column and Statesman editorials. Become a follower. You can
also get updates on Facebook's Idaho Statesman Opinion Page.

Otter's Chicken

Otter's afraid of answering why he cares more about the Republican party than the people of Idaho.

A true conservative would have spent the money being used to sue the Federal Government over the Healthcare bill and put it toward schools or other programs cut by Otter's bragged "fiscal responsibility".

I can't wait for this!!!

"The Ullman-Rammell debate will go on as scheduled, at 8 p.m. It will air on Public TV, and will take place at Capitol Auditorium at the Statehouse."
Getting my popcorn ready for this one!
(programming the DVR....)


Otter is working on the premise that he's got it greased, so why worry about a public debate.

I really, really hope that the Idaho Voters will have had enough of this arrogant behavior and come voting day, insist on something better for a governor.

sorry Butch

This is nothing more than the famous "2 party" ploy to marginalize any wannabes,
so Butch you have a "control issue"?????????????
Im watching you very closely to see if you have "any progressive" sniffs----number 1 will be "illegal aliens"
you get this one wrong---

Otter has nothing to gain

Why WOULD he debate? The latest polls show him winning by a comfortable margin.

He has nothing to gain.

More attacks

Blah, attack Republican, Blah. bi-line Mistakesman writer. The front-runner, who has nothing to gain from a debate, not wanting to give his opponents a helping hand? Yea, happens all the time. The Mistakesman is just mad they won't be able to take more stuff out of context, mis-quote, or just plain lie about records and statements. Sorry, you'll have to do it your selves.

Agreed. Statesman likes to

Agreed. Statesman likes to cause trouble for any republican it can. If Sharon Ulman was the front runner they'd be hammering her instead. I didn't vote for Otter last time but this heavy handed stuff by Statesman makes me sympathize with him.

If you'd make more Democrats they'd get hammered too!


You can use any words you like here, as long as you don't use actual words.

Option to Decline: #1 and #2.

Butch had two ways out:

#1: Too many fringe candidates

#2: Not all candidates are included.

As usual an Otter choice flunks the smell test: #2.

Gov. Otter,

you really need to quit spiking your snuff. You were invited by the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club, and various media groups plus IPTV. You chose to blame IPTV, because it's a publicly funded institution, for not allowing all Idaho citizens access to a public debate. With this line of thinking, all Idaho citizens and taxpayers should have access to fly on THEIR state owned aircraft, use your Idaho citizens paid for office, state vehicle, parking spaces, the list goes on and on. We know that this is not possible, just as allowing unscreened and unqualified people to participate in a serious political debate is not possible. It would appear that arrogance is alive and well at the statehouse.
P.S. When you spoke at the Spokane, WA. Tea Party a few weeks ago, did you travel to Spokane on the Idaho State, citizen's owned, King Air aircraft? TIA for your honest answer.

Otter & Crapo’s arrogant

Otter & Crapo’s arrogant elitist choice that they are above public debate and are entitled to run for public office without any public debate of the facts, their accountability, their personal voting record and past governance, reflects everything that is wrong in Idaho governance's by a GOP majority.

AKA Idaho Democrat Party

"Debate sponsors -- which include Idaho Public Television, the League of Women Voters, the Idaho Press Club and media groups including the Statesman --"

Hmmmm, groups known for intellectual discourse...