Those who want a closer look at candidates vying for both congressional seats in Idaho will have two chances this week to hear from those running. Thursday night in Nampa there will be one forum for those in the race for the right to face Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick in Idaho's 1st Congressional District in November. There will be a forum Saturday in Eagle for candidates from both districts.
Thursday's event is sponsored by the Republican Party in state District 13 along with the Canyon County Republican Women. The forum will only feature the two front-runners in the race, Vaughn Ward and state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle. Event organizer Ronalee Linsenmann said she couldn't find contact information for the other man in the race, Harley Brown, so he was not invited. Linsenmann said Labrador and Ward will be allowed to give short stump speeches and then audience members will submit questions for the two men to answer. She warned that questions will be screened to avoid redundancy.
During the last two weeks, two candidates, Michael Chadwick and Allan Salzberg, have dropped out of the 1st District GOP primary, which, Linsemann said, will allow event attendees to hear more extensively from Ward and Labrador. Linsemann said that prior to Chadwick and Salzberg withdrawing from the race she had planned to give candidates a minute and half to respond to questions posed by audience members. With only two candidates left, Ward and Labrador can expect to have a full two minutes to answer queries.
Thursday's forum will be held at the east end of Karcher Mall in Nampa and begins at 7:00 p.m. It is expected to go until 8:00 p.m. Linsenmann said that she only ordered 50 chairs, so seating may be extremely limited.
Saturday's forum, for candidates in both districts, is sponsored by Tea Party Boise Inc. and will be held at Eagle High School from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Unlike Thursday's event, Saturday's debate will feature Republicans, Democrats, and an Independent. The incumbents, Minnick and Republican Mike Simpson, who represents Idaho's 2nd Congressional District, will not attend.
In an e-mail announcement to its members, Tea Party Boise said that during the moderated portion of the debate, discussion and questions will focus on four topics: fiscal responsibility, corruption and ethics, sovereignty, and liberty. Besides a moderated debate session, the Tea Party event will also allow audience members to ask general questions of candidates or direct questions to specific politicians.
The forum will be held in the auditorium at the high school, which holds 500. The group is encouraging those wishing to attend to come early. It also asks that children be left at home so more voters can attend.