'Idaho Debates' set, congressional incumbents agree to face challengers on statewide TV

Idaho's two Republican members of the U.S. House -- 1st District freshman Raul Labrador and 2nd District seven-termer Mike Simpson -- will meet their underdog Democratic opponents in debates televised statewide in the final days of the campaign.

Labrador will face off against Jimmy Farris on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. MDT on Idaho Public Television.

Perennial candidate Pro-Life, who changed his name to reflect his singular issue, says he will run the active campaign necessary to appear in the debate, as he has in the past. If Libertarian Rob Oates meets the criteria, he also will be eligible to appear, said Bruce Reichert, executive producer at IPTV.

Simpson will meet four-term state Sen. Nicole LeFavour on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.

Both events are open to the public and will air live from the Capitol Auditorium in Boise. Election Day is Nov. 6.

The debates may be the single best opportunity for the challengers, who have had difficulty getting the incumbents to engage. Simpson turned down an invitation to appear with LeFavour at a City Club of Boise forum, according to Tom Killingsworth, who worked to organize the forum. LeFavour agreed to attend, but Simpson, through his campaign staff, declined, Killingsworth said.

City Club has held congressional forums in past elections, but decided not to attempt to organize a forum in the 1st District. Killingsworth said there was higher interest in the 2nd District.

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