Candidates running for local office in 2020 also owe their voters a debate or two next year.
On Wednesday night, the Democratic Party’s presidential field met for its first presidential debate, mixing it up on issues ranging from health care to immigration. Regardless of substance or agreement with policy, one must agree that the debate did give average voters a chance to see the candidates engage directly on policy several months out from the first caucus of the cycle.
I believe that the debate model is one that would also benefit Amarillo voters next year.
In 2020, several local offices will be on the ballot, ranging from District Attorney to U.S. Representative. While it is likely that several candidates will run unopposed, there is bound to be at least a few who will be challenged, whether in the primary or in the general election, or in some cases both. In many cases, voters have few resources to learn about local candidates and instead rely on glossy flyers and television commercials to make decisions on candidates. Not only is that bad for voters, it’s also bad for candidates that they often don’t have to face the tough issues before taking office.
This is precisely why local candidates should debate in 2020. Congressional candidates are obvious debate contenders, but what about races like County Attorney and County Commissioner, where there are notable key issues that likely won’t be addressed outside of a few candidate forums. Hosting a televised or live-streamed debate would be a great way for voters to truly learn about the issues while candidates address the hot topics at the forefronts of their races.
It is just a thought, but I think true local candidate debates would benefit everyone in 2020.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief