Since May, Republican Gov. Butch Otter and his challenger, Democrat Keith Allred, have been taking swipes at one another via the media in order to gain favor with voters. The two men will finally have the chance to stand face-to-face and debate policy differences during a debate in Idaho Falls on Thursday.
Otter and Allred will appear together for the first time at a debate sponsored by the City Club of Idaho Falls. The forum begins at 12:00 p.m. and is expected to run for an hour and will be held at Idaho State University’s (ISU) campus in Idaho Falls, in the Student Union Building. Shea Andersen, spokesman for the Allred campaign, said that all seats that come with a lunch included have been sold out, but that there are about 50 spots in the gallery left for purchase.
The debate will be moderated by David Adler, a former ISU professor who is now employed with the University of Idaho.
Andersen said Allred is ready to discuss the issues of the day about which Idahoans care. “Keith is looking forward to talking about his vision for lower taxes and stronger schools for Idaho,” Andersen told IdahoReporter.com. “Allred’s experience as a leader of The Common Interest, a nonpartisan citizens' group, showed him just how frustrated Idahoans are that Butch Otter isn't listening to everyday Idahoans but to the special interests that bankroll his many campaigns. Keith is eager to talk about once again making Idaho government 'of, by and for the people.'”
Ryan Panitz, spokesman for the Otter campaign, said that the incumbent is eager to put the accomplishments of his administration on display this week. “Gov. Otter has worked non-stop to put Idaho on the right track over the last four years,” said Panitz. “He’s made the necessary and responsible decisions and can’t wait to show the people of eastern Idaho why they should put their trust in him for another four years.” Panitz explained that Otter will look to pin Allred down on the issues important to the citizens of Idaho. “Otter looks forward to asking the tough questions of our Democratic opponent. He’s done enough dancing around with generic ideas. It’s time for him to stop posturing without reality.”
Three candidates on the ballot in November with Otter and Allred were not invited to attend. Independents Jana Kemp and Pro-Life, as well as Libertarian Ted Dunlap, didn’t receive enough support in a recent Rasmussen Reports poll to meet the club’s guidelines to qualify for debate participation.
The debate will not be broadcast live, but KISU, the radio station affiliated with ISU, will record the forum and broadcast it at a later date. Visit KISU’s website for scheduling details. Otter and Allred will debate several more times between now and November, when they face off at the polls. The two men will debate again on Sept. 15 at the City Club of Boise, and will appear together at the Statehouse in Boise sometime this fall for a debate sponsored and broadcast statewide by Idaho Public Television.