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20 questions and Jim Risch

Liveblogging – through comments, or through site plugins that have gotten pretty nifty these days – would have been better than the simple one-on-one Q&A: More wide open is better.

But you take what you can get, and the 20 questions the Spokane Spokesman-Review‘s Dave Oliveria put to Idaho Lieutenant Governor (and Senate candidate) Jim Risch worked pretty well. if you’ve been seeing lots of material about the Idaho Senate race, and noting that the large majority of it has come from the camp of Democratic candidate Larry LaRocco, you might be interested in seeing something from the other side. (The LaRocco forces no doubt took plenty of interest.) The interview is in four pieces (here, here, here and http://www.spokesmanreview.com/blogs/hbo/archive.asp?postID=25374).

Suffers in a few place from lack of followup. The first question was about why, though Risch has agreed to four debates, he has passed on the most institutionalized, backed by the League of Women Voters. Risch’s reply: “We’re working on a fifth one. The debates we’ve agreed to – first of all you can’t do all the debates. You get lots of invitations. You pick the ones that get most coverage around the state. We look for the ones with the best format for getting out our message. And it has nothing to do with whether or not Betsy Russell [a Spokesman-Review reporter] is on the panel.” An interesting reply, but did it address the question?

There were noteworthy replies all over the place, though; we were especially drawn by the remark that Risch (or at least his campaign) may start blogging next month. (If he does, we’ll be watching.) Risch’s reputation as sharp, articulate and witty (which he’s long had among Statehouse types) would gain considerably if he were more visible and outspoken on the campaign. The questions and their replies are well worth a review.

Quick note of this one. The LaRocco campaign has been saying that Risch, if elected, would likely be the most junior, or nearly so, senator in the minority party, putting him near the bottom in influence. Oliveria’s question, essentially, was seeking a reply to that. Risch’s response was to point out that if LaRocco were in the Senate along with conservative Republican Mike Crapo, “We’d have offsetting votes on all major issues to the point that Idaho wouldn’t have representation in the U.S. Senate.” Followup question: Would he and Oregon Senator Gordon Smith like to have a discussion on that topic? (Secondary followup: If LaRocco were to be elected this year, would that mean Idahoans ought to elect a Democrat to the Crapo seat in 2010 so they’re voting the same way?)

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