Campaign Notebook: Debates, debates and more debates

By October 11, 2020 October 15th, 2020 No Comments

Early voting started last week in Bonneville County and will be starting by Oct. 19 in counties where it hasn’t already started. As of late Friday morning, 971 people had already voted early in Bonneville County.

Rep. Julianne Young, R-Blackfoot, and her Democratic opponent Travis Oler met for a debate Friday afternoon at the Nuart Theater in Blackfoot, sponsored by the Greater Blackfoot Association of Realtors and the Greater Blackfoot Area Chamber of Commerce. Check the Bingham County Chronicle for more complete coverage (I was on deadline writing this column as I watched it), but Oler spent much of it criticizing Young for votes such as opposing the Idaho Patient Act. Oler said his votes would be more in line with Sen. Steve Bair and retiring Rep. Neil Anderson, both R-Blackfoot, District 31’s two more moderate Republican lawmakers.

In his closing statement, Oler condemned Young for hiring Parrish Miller to do campaign work. Miller is one of the analysts who scores bills for the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Freedom Index; Oler criticized a couple of older blog entries of Miller’s, one where he discussed not feeling proud of the United States on July 4 because he doesn’t view it as a free country and another where he argued it is morally justifiable under some circumstances to resist arrest, including killing a police officer if necessary. (Although Miller acknowledged this probably wouldn’t be a smart tactical choice in most instances.)

“I would certainly like to hear her condemn any justifiable homicide of police or eradication of the U.S. government,” Oler said.

Young said Oler was taking her record out of context and that she has lived up to the pro-family, pro-life, pro-small government platform she ran on. She used her closing statement to remind the voters of one of the most heavily Republican districts in the state that Oler is a Democrat and the chairman of the county party. Young read from the state Democratic platform, noting it supports access to housing and health care for all, equal pay for equal work, universal background checks to buy a gun and marijuana legalization.

“These are very contrary to my conservative, family and freedom values,” Young said.

Biden backs Jordan

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday urged people to vote for Paulette Jordan, the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee running against incumbent Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch.

“Paulette is a proven leader for Idaho’s working families,” Biden said in a statement. “She will expand access to health care that Idaho Republicans have tried relentlessly to cut. With Paulette carrying the voice of the people to Washington, Idaho will build back better.”

This week

Idaho Public Television plans to air pre-recorded interviews with the candidates in Idaho’s Second Congressional District at 8 p.m. on Monday. U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, who is running for re-election, and his challenger Aaron Swisher, will also debate on Wednesday. Boise TV station KTVB is hosting it. This looks like it will be the only in-person debate for a federal office this year; Risch and First District U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher have both turned down debates KTVB tried to organize, and IPTV is airing pre-recorded interviews this year rather than holding debates due to the risk of COVID-19.

IPTV’s interviews with the U.S. Senate candidates will air at 8 p.m. Friday.

State Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, and her Democratic challenger Miranda Marquit will debate on Tuesday, and Marco Erickson and Dave Roth, the Republican and Democrat respectively running for District 33’s other House seat, will debate Thursday. Both debates are being sponsored by the City Club of Idaho Falls and will be livestreamed online. The city club hasn’t been having the in-person lunches with speakers it used to since this spring due to coronavirus.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

By: Nathan Brown