Giddings withdraws from statewide televised debate

State Rep. Priscilla Giddings has withdrawn from a lieutenant governor’s candidate debate, which had been scheduled to air statewide Monday night.

The Idaho Public Television debate is now canceled.

Giddings, a White Bird Republican, had originally agreed to debate House Speaker Scott Bedke of Oakley. But Giddings backed out after debate organizers would not give her an advance list of reporters on the panel.

“The decision to withhold the names of the panelists on the false pretense that this will suddenly make them fair and respectful leaves us with very little choice,” Giddings campaign spokesman Zach Lautenschlager wrote in a Friday email, released by debate organizers. “We are forced to refuse the invitation.”

“The Idaho Debates partners don’t reveal reporters on the panel to any candidate in advance,” said Melissa Davlin of Idaho Public Television, who had been scheduled to moderate the debate. “This is so campaigns can’t pick and choose who asks questions of them. We tried to work with the Giddings campaign within the parameters of our rules.”

With Giddings out, the debate is canceled — since only one candidate, Bedke, had agreed to participate. The Idaho Debates partnership does not hold debates with a single candidate.

A third Republican on the ballot, Daniel Gasiorowski of Placerville, did not respond to an invitation to debate, Davlin said Friday.

This is the second statewide debate to fall by the wayside this week. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson has refused to participate in an Idaho Public Television debate with challenger Bryan Smith; organizers canceled this debate Monday.

Three other debates remain on the schedule:

  • April 19: Republican candidates for attorney general.
  • April 25: Republican candidates for superintendent of public instruction.
  • April 26: Republican candidates for secretary of state.

The Idaho Debates are a partnership between the Idaho Press Club, Idaho Public Television, the League of Women Voters of Idaho and the state’s public universities.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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