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A fair fair debate

9/3/2014

A fair fair debate

A fair fair debate

I appreciate the fact HDN editor and publisher Patrick Lowry addressed the criteria for the state fair debate in a recent opinion piece. I would like to offer a few opinions and a correction.

First, the correction: "America" never has adopted a two-party system. This is not in the Constitution nor is it codified in Kansas or any other state. If you are saying there are two dominant parties in regard to outcome, certainly that is true. It is at least partially true because many members of the media do not provide full coverage of all candidates. You see the paradox?

You state Keen Umbehr has no chance to win. Wouldn't you agree Tom Holland had no chance to beat Sam Brownback in 2010? That race never was close and never in doubt. In fact, many races across the state are not competitive, but you cherry pick this as an arbitrary and subjective requirement. The comment "voters are better served ... " forces me to ask if you can produce these voters you speak for. I have spoken with countless voters during the past few years, and I have never -- never once -- heard one say they did not want to hear from all candidates. Please take the time to speak with those attending the fair and simply ask them if they would prefer to have Umbehr included.

I am mystified by the $50,000 in non-personal funds requirement. The media and voters long have complained about the influence of money on politics. Making this a requirement is promoting the idea politics is -- and should be -- a financial arms race. The "non-personal" thing makes even less sense. If you look at campaign finance reports, a great deal of donations come from PACs, corporate interests, unions and other groups that often have narrow interests. So basically you are saying you would rather have a candidate who is bought off than one who is financing their own campaign. Bizarre.

I am involved with a non-partisan organization that sponsors candidate forums and other events. We invite all candidates who have earned their way onto the ballot. This is not only the ethical and fair thing to do, it is what voters expect. It also makes for a more informative and useful event.

Patrick Wilbur,

Lawrence

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