Local Politics

Gem State gubernatorial debate mocked across country

Debate was between "a cowboy a curmudgeon or a normal guy"

Gem State gubernatorial debate mocked across country

SPOKANE, Wash. - It may have seemed like a Saturday Night Live sketch, but it really was a debate between the men who want to be Idaho's GOP candidate for governor in an event that is now being mocked across the country.

The GOP primary is Tuesday and, according to candidate Harley Brown, Idahoans will choose between, "a cowboy a curmudgeon or a normal guy."

That so-called normal guy Brown referred to is State Senator Russ Fulcher, who is making the rounds before voters hit the polls.

The debate lasted almost an hour, but the most popular highlight reel, just a few minutes long, is what the whole world is watching and it is not a good look for the Gem State.

Two of the candidates, dark horses to put it mildly, are Harley Brown and Walt Bates, provided the entertainment in the forum.

"I am about as politically correct as your proverbial turd in a punch bowl," Brown said during the debate.

"Our forests are like growing tomatoes, well they are pretty red don't pick 'em," Bates said during the debate.

Fulcher said he's not impressed with the spectacle the debate turned into and added he wasn't surprised.

"We've been together at candidate forums before and so the governor knew what was going to happen," Fulcher said Friday morning.

There could be some truth to the claim that this debate was a clever political move from incumbent Governor Butch Otter.

"Butch I'd like to thank you for making it possible for me to be here tonight, he kind of insisted that me and this other un-normal person could be here tonight," Bates said during the debate.

Otter faces a real third term threat from Fulcher, a Tea Party candidate for governor.

"It's very unfair because there is a very legitimate campaign debate and a very legitimate race between myself and Governor Otter," Fulcher said.

And in part, that did happen, but it certainly isn't what people will remember from this debate.

KXLY reached out to Otter's office and asked if the debate was a political move to draw attention from the real issues. His office issued the following statement:

"A statewide debate that excludes candidates is an exercise in elitism. If some candidates don't meet your personal expectations, don't vote for them. But if they qualify to be on the ballot, they should be able to participate in the process."