Jeers: Empty chairs

Cheers & Jeers: Empty chairs



JEERS … to Republican legislative candidates Mike Kingsley and Thyra Stevenson, both of Lewiston.

When Lewis-Clark State College and the Lewiston Tribune invited them to debate their Democratic opponents – state Rep. John Rusche and Lewiston City Councilor Bob Blakey, respectively – these two said they had other plans.

Kingsley told LCSC spokesman Bert Sahlberg that between working and campaigning, he could not find the time for a debate. Of course, if Kingsley has time to campaign, he has time to debate.

Speaking through Kingsley, Stevenson said she doesn’t like the Tribune.

These two can’t squirm out of the traditional forum hosted by the League of Women Voters. That’s set for Oct. 18 at the LCSC library. But that two-hour session will split its focus between two legislative races as well as contests for Nez Perce County commissioner and sheriff.

Why would Kingsley and Stevenson avoid a second debate devoted entirely to their plans for the Legislature?

Are they calculating?

In 2014, Kingsley lost to Rusche by a mere 48 votes out of 12,460 ballots cast. Stevenson’s defeat to state Rep. Dan Rudolph, D-Lewiston, was even tighter – 26 votes out of 12,435 cast.

That was in a mid-term election. Presidential elections tend to drive up GOP voter turnout. So do Kingsley and Stevenson figure they are sitting on a lead?

Are they cocky?

Do Kingsley and Stevenson believe they have so much campaign cash available they can flood voters with the pre-scripted commercials – without ever being forced to engage with them?

Or are they chicken?

Are they incapable of answering neutral – or even hostile – questions from the public?

Is thinking on their feet not among their skill-set? Are they afraid they might come off second best to their opponents?

Next chance you get, ask them.