The debate about debates
arole Keeton Strayhorn wants to debate Gov. Rick Perry any time, anywhere. Kinky Friedman also wants in on the action.When we get close to having debates, it should be a very interesting debate about debates.
But Perry won't commit to debating anyone until he knows exactly who is going to be on the November election ballot. That won't be clear for a while, given the strange circumstances in this year's Texas governor's race.
Whatever arrangements are made, it's already evident that Strayhorn and Friedman — the two independent candidates running for governor — expect televised debates to help them in their respective bids to defeat Perry, the entrenched Republican incumbent.
"We want to debate early and often," said Mark Sanders, spokesman for Strayhorn, the state's comptroller. "The comptroller is an amazing speaker with a clear vision of where she wants to take the state."
In Friedman's case, getting on stage and on the air with the major candidates in the race should boost his candidacy and expose the humorist's plain-talking message to a wide audience, say his advisers and an outside political expert.
In deciding whether to include candidates, the partnership in the past has looked to criteria such as whether a candidate is legally on the ballot; whether a candidate is actively campaigning, including operating a campaign headquarters; and whether a candidate has received at least 6 percent in an independent poll or average of polls.
Who will want who in all depends on where the polls are at that stage in the game.
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