July 10, 2018 10:28 PM
A group of Minneapolis women who formed a political debate club formed an online petition to try and get the Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates for the U.S. Senate Special Election to debate one another.
The 13 women are part of the Bridgewater Political Group which meets monthly to discuss politics.
"We'd vent for half an hour,” said founding member Gail Asher. “Our push then is what can we do as citizens to make things different?"
"We're citizens who want these candidates, very viable candidates to have to speak before the public,” fellow group member Libby Simones said. “And tell us everything they think about the environment, health care, and how they are going to combat Trump."
The only Special Senate event slated ahead of the primary is a candidate forum at Farmfest in Redwood County on August 7, which is one week before the primary vote.
Tina Smith’s campaign told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they are considering another debate.
“Sen. Smith looks forward to debating all candidates at Farmfest and talking about issues that are important to voters, just like she has done across the state at over 100 meetings, roundtables and other events with thousands of Minnesotans in the last six months,” said campaign spokesperson Jen Gates.
Richard Painter, who will be the only other DFL candidate at Farmfest, is pushing for more debates.
“While we are grateful to be included in the annual Farmfest Candidate Forum, this event, which features multiple candidates competing for a wide variety of offices, is not a debate,” Painter’s campaign wrote 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. “Voters deserve to hear their prospective Senators answer difficult questions, as well as rebuttals, from their opponents.”
Farmfest staff said the event will be led by a moderator.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has yet to hear back from organizers on more specifics of the forum.
To see all the candidates who filed for office in Minnesota, click here.
"As a group, we need to make a decision as a group as to who people are going to vote for. A lot of people haven't decided," Mary Sulimann, a group member, said.
Regardless who wins the primary, the members of this "blue-leaning" group said they’ll back the DFL candidate in the general election.
“This situation is unusual...an appointed Senator running for the seat with a very short window before the election,” Kathryn Pearson, University of Minnesota Political Science Professor, said. “A front-runner who holds office not being in a lot of debates before a primary is not unusual.”
Updated: July 10, 2018 10:28 PM
Created: July 10, 2018 08:31 PM
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