Notes from the recent AARP gubernatorial debate

We’ve been getting a lot of feedback after our debate with AARP. The Pioneer Press story nailed the dynamic of Republican Tom Emmer and Independent (but former Republican) Tom Horner almost trying to engage in their own debate. As the moderator I said at one point “It can’t be just the two of yours debate!” What viewers didn’t see on camera was that Democrat Mark Dayton was trying to politely get into the discussionwith quiet hand cues to me. But it did seem his strategy was to play it nice and let the other two men fight it out.

Some viewers I’ve heard from thought Dayton was too passive, others didn’t like Emmer and Horner talking over the host. But I did hear from several who were impressed with the combative pair. One undecided independent viewer said “Emmer improved his image by being more specific on budget matters, Horner dominated which seemed very strong, but I wanted to see more fight and engagement from Dayton.” A Republican woman told me that Emmer lost her vote because she saw him “walk away” from me during credits while Horner and Dayton stayed and chatted. She thought that was rude. What she didn’t know is that Emmer showed up about half and hour early by himself and spent plenty of time chatting with me along with TPT and AARP representatives.

That’s just some back story on what you didn’t get to see in the broadcast. If you missed it, some interesting policy moments were Horner accusing Emmer of voting to raise property taxes on the Delano City Council by 16%. Emmer responded that the property tax increase was “minimal.” Dayton said this week he’ll have more details on how he’ll fill a big hole is his revenue plan. Dayton and Horner have living wills, Emmer does not. Finally, when asked how long they plan to serve as governor, Emmer said “I don’t have a living will. I got to take one day at a time.” Horner said “I’d never pledge to be a one term governor” but if he has to take the heat from both sides for one term he’s okay with that. Dayton said God willing “I’d serve two terms.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Peter Tharaldson on 09/20/2010 - 10:54 am.

    It is fair to say the political history of candidates, including Tom Horner. Most candidates in teh IP are reformers who came from somewhere else. When it gets over the top is when you do parens with (“But former Republican”). That is frankly more editorial in placement and style than informative.

    I don’t ever remember Tim Penny being (but former Democrat), Bob Anderson being (but former Republican), or Jim Moore (but former Democrat). I think this is wrong and inappropriate…and seems like the church lady comments on SNL

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