First, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch opted out of a debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters, saying that he preferred the format of the debate hosted by KTVB-Channel 7 (BW, News Shorts, "Risch Passes on IPTV," May 7, 2008). It was the second time Risch turned down the chance to appear on an IPTV debate.
Then, U.S. Rep. Bill Sali followed his example.
Sali was scheduled to debate Republican primary challenger Matt Salisbury last weekend on IPTV, but just four days before the scheduled event, he backed out, saying he just didn't have the time.
"We are disappointed that the congressman couldn't find time in his schedule for the debate," was the official statement from the group sponsoring the event. The Idaho Debates are sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Idaho Press Club and broadcast live statewide on IPTV.
Of course, Risch's KTVB debate wasn't without its own controversy. The news station was heavily criticized for not allowing some media outlets, including the Associated Press, to cover the event. Only those on the official guest list were allowed past the velvet ropes.
Even Republican candidate Rex Rammell was not allowed in the debate. He was left in the parking lot along with everyone else whose invitations failed to show up.