Recap of the first DFL lieutenant governor candidate debate

Almanac was the site of the first DFL lieutenant governor debate. Margaret Anderson Kelliher’s running mate John Gunyou joined Matt Entenza’s Robyne Robinson and Mark Dayton’s Yvonne Prettner Solon. We started with a question about qualifications, starting with Robinson’s claim that she had covered the Capitol for 20 years. Solon had to answer how she could serve the whole state after representing just Duluth in the Legislature. And John Gunyou told us why DFLers should vote for a guy who’s never held elective office and worked for Republicans. As we’re getting to know them, we asked for little known facts. Solon likes to snorkel. Robinson listens to Tom Jones. Gunyou enjoys remodeling.

But the most talked about part of the show came about 10 minutes later after we allowed long answers on policy questions dealing with health care, the budget and education. As we’ve done for a quarter of century we launched a quick round of yes/no answers. Gunyou pushed back saying it’s “unfair to say yes or no.” Robinson responded “I like being here, so I’ll take yes or no or a roundtable.” I heard from several viewers who thought Gunyou was being vague and appreciated our effort to get him to answer questions. Some thought he was disrespectful to me. Overall, callers and emailers were pretty evenly divided about our approach. Right down the middle is where I like to play it.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Lindsey Knowles on 06/22/2010 - 06:14 am.

    Tradition or no, Gunyou was right – yes/no gotcha questions are the low-hanging fruit of political journalism. I thought you were rude to all three candidates when you repeatedly cut them off and insisted on simplistic answers to complex questions. Leave that to the networks. Almanac should be better than that. When is Wurzer back?

  2. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 06/23/2010 - 09:54 am.

    For an old pro, LaHammer occasionally suffers from ‘Goldy-Locks’ syndrome…a giggle, a giddy laugh and silly questions. This was one of those times maybe? The interviewed candidates deserved better?

  3. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 06/24/2010 - 02:12 pm.

    I”m not commenting on the specific segment and who was disrespectful, but I can say as an audience member, I always think these yes or no questions are ridiculous, and I love it when a candidate refuses to go along.

  4. Submitted by Herbert Davis on 07/06/2010 - 06:19 am.

    I hope the message that simplistic expectations and the yes-No format is not what people want when they watch TPT…if we wanted that we could watch network or “fair and balanced”…:)

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