Risch Skips Public TV Debate

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Lt. Gov. Jim Risch has told the League of Women Voters that he'll skip their debate, to be televised on Idaho Public Television.

Instead, Risch intends to appear on one sponsored by KTVB Channel 7.

"He likes the KTVB format better," said Elinor Chehey from the League of Women Voters. "It doesn't really surprise us."

It shouldn't: Risch skipped a debate on public television last year, when concerns about the behavior of Democrat Larry LaRocco prompted Risch to take a pass on the debate for lieutenant governor's office. Risch won that vote handily.

Jason Risch, son of the former governor who has been acting as his spokesman, agreed.

"It's a format-based decision," Risch said this morning.

A similar report was on the Spokane, Wash. Spokesman-Review's Eye on Boise blog earlier today.

In a letter sent to Chehey, Jason Risch explained that the "open format," which allows for exchanges between candidates, would not be conducive to good debate.

"Our experience in that regard has been that the format you chose frequently deteriorates into a negative exchange between the candidates, which is unhelpful and unappreciated by the viewers," Risch wrote.

Lt. Gov. Risch faces seven opponents for the Idaho Republican Party's primary, May 27.