Home > SD 2014 Ballot, South Dakota > Rounds debate schedule mirrors Daugaards

Rounds debate schedule mirrors Daugaards

July 25, 2014
Republican US Senate Candidate Mike Rounds speaking in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema

Republican US Senate Candidate Mike Rounds speaking in Huron. Photo by Ken Santema

About a month ago I mentioned that Rounds and Daugaard were already trying to minimize their unscripted exposure to voters. At that time Daugaard had mentioned he would schedule four Gubernatorial debates: DakotaFest, SD State Fair, KELO, and SDPB-TV. A simple copy/paste could show the same schedule just announced by Rounds for the US Senate debates: DakotaFest, SD State Fair, KELO, and SDPB-TV.

Here are the ‘details’ from the Rounds announcement:

Dakota Fest
August 20, 2:00pm

South Dakota State Fair
August 29, 10:00-11:00am

South Dakota Public Broadcasting
October 23, 8:00-9:00pm

Keloland News
October 29, 7:00-8:00pm
Sioux Falls

I covered most of my thoughts on this topic in the earlier post. But I would like to add one more thought: we the voters should refrain from voting for any candidate that outright avoids debates or town hall events. I know of at least a half-dozen other events that are being planned over the next few months which hope to host a US Senate debate. Pressler has just accepted an invitation to debate by the Native Sun News and United Tribes Technical College. These other events are likely less controlled than the four accepted by Rounds. What this basically means is these other ‘smaller’ debates give voters a chance to hear candidates talk on a variety of issues they might not otherwise get to hear from a candidate.

In my mind Rounds is on the ‘not worthy of a vote’ list simply because of his campaign’s effort to avoid talking unscripted. To anyone saying “well he’s the front-runner so he would be crazy to debate” I would ask a question: Did you feel the same way when someone of the other party was the front-runner? The need for more debates has nothing to do with parties. It has to do with getting as much information to voters as possible. When front-runners decide to limit debates they also have decided voters are not worthy of more information. Thus my statement saying candidates wishing to limit debates are not worthy of votes.

  1. July 25, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Not one debate west river or on an Indian Reservation.

    • Reagan Republican
      July 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      There is such a thing as TV and the internet to watch debates.

  2. Merlyn Schutterle
    July 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Why should Rounds debate any more than he has to? He is comfortably ahead. He has nothing to gain by more debates. It’s the old don’t give ammunition to your enemy strategy. It’s not about what is best for SD, it’s just about winning.

    Why should Rounds go to the reservations? They are Democratic strongholds anyway, and it is not worth his time for the few votes he may get there. Come on now,it doesn’t pay to play fair.

    • Merlyn Schutterle
      July 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      I see Rounds has porked up a bit. He isn’t living on food stamps.

  3. Reagan Republican
    July 25, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    4 debates scheduled by July is plenty. I’m a big advocate for debates but not more than the public wants.

    I honestly doubt most voters need to see one debate to understand the issues and in SD most voters will have the chance to personally talk to any of the candidates multiple times if they choose to seek them out.

  4. Reagan Republican
    July 25, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    I’ve been to dozens of debates over the years and 95% of the people who watch or attend are people who already know who they will be voting for. Debates are a must for politics and for elections and but putting someone on the do not support list for holding 4 debates is really a stretch and laughable.

  5. Reagan Republican
    July 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I heard these calls for more debates in the primary and the debates I went to drew about 70 people and the majority of those who attended were with a political campaign or strong supporters of one of the candidates.

    I want to know where the appetite is among South Dakotan’s to endure more than 4 debates. I didn’t even watch the only televised debate in the primary.

    • July 26, 2014 at 12:07 am

      True, the majority of voters are not asking for more debates. It is mostly from localized groups around the state. These groups want to host debates or town hall events focused around their particular issues. Such debates don’t have to be televised, in fact it might be better if they are not since too many televised debates would be too much. Reporters would attend and hopefully report on the stances that come out of such events.

      I didn’t finish my thought as much as I should have in this post. When I say debate limiting candidates are not worth a vote, I am saying that from the point of view that politicians should be going the extra mile before getting elected to show true transparency and voter accountability. If they are not willing to do so before being elected, how can they be trusted to do so after they are elected.

      • Reagan Republican
        July 26, 2014 at 1:52 am

        I’m just not sure a fifth debate is the answer to your question. There is a lot more to voter outreach than just debates. There will be lunches and forums and gatherings where the candidates will be – the people who care to attend will show up.

        The questions can be posed in front of groups at many small gatherings but I think the real issue in this state is a lack of media presence at political events. Many news organizations just don’t cover politics.

        Most candidates are not afraid to talk about issues but most of the media doesn’t cover it when they do. I’ve rarely seen a candidate in SD shy away from answering a voters concern on the left or right (2010 with Herseth avoiding Obamacare is the one time that really comes to mind) usually they are more than happy to answer questions. Obviously sometimes we will ask about an issue they haven’t spent a lot of time on so we aren’t going to get a satisfactory answer but rarely have I seen someone not answer a question or been open about a position just for the sake of avoiding someone.

        I’m a much bigger advocate of town halls than debates. I prefer a give and take from an engaged audience rather than a moderator and a back and forth against opponents. I want a real discussion. Unfortunately there isn’t a big desire for town halls most of the time either.

  6. Reagan Republican
    July 26, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Also Rounds went to like 30 some lincoln day dinners and other events with his opponents over the last year and at many of them he was called out by opponents and the entire audience was able to hear those concerns and ask questions of the candidates before and after dinners.

    Those might not have been debates but they were joint appearances with opponents who didn’t have any money and one of the opponents in particular would get pretty aggressive. Rounds stood there and took it and over 54% of the primary voters chose him. So I don’t think Rounds is avoiding questions or his opponents.

    If any voter wants to personally visit and have an in depth conversation with any of these candidates I believe that they can have that opportunity multiple times and I don’t think that is likely in most other states. We are very fortunate in SD.

    I get being upset if a candidate won’t debate or if a candidate will only do one debate and it’s at the end of an election but when there are two debates in August (months out from the election) and then two more in October (near the election) it’s hard for me to see what the big deal is.

  7. Reagan Republican
    July 26, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Good blog by the way. I’m enjoying this post.

    While I’m ranting I’m going to say that 16% of voters turned out to vote in Brown County http://www.hubcityradio.com/pages/19145345.php?

    That is horrible. Tragic. If only 16% cared to get up to vote in the primary and they could early vote for over a month how motivated are most people going to be to watch another debate when they already have 4 to skip? And at that point you have to ask is it really worth having another debate for the 16% of people that voted? 13% in Minnehaha. http://madvilletimes.com/2014/06/voter-turnout-dismal-in-south-dakota-primary-blame-gant/

    Sure more people will watch debates in the general and vote but that requires one of the 4 candidates finding a way to make the race very competitive. That would require a candidate (other than Rounds) engaging voters in the process.

    People are busy and right now a majority of voters know Rounds (from 8 years as governor) they like him, they don’t have a reason to look for someone else and they don’t need to watch a 5th debate to realize they were going to vote for him anyway.

  1. August 22, 2014 at 8:53 pm
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