Writings and observations

Tonight’s ID gubernatorial, quickly

A short note on tonight’s Idaho gubernatorial debate on KTVB-TV, between incumbent Republican C.L. “Butch” Otter, Democrat Keith Allred and independent Jana Kemp. Basic point: It was more or less a three-way tie.

Otter did a lot better tonight than at his debate with Allred at Idaho Falls. This time he left obsessions with the federal government, the constitution and the 10th amendment, and what then felt like serious anger, at the door, and instead got into the practical details of managing the state and charting a direction. He presented himself much less ideologically, and to much better effect. He didn’t seem especially smooth or comfortable, but he did seem at least capable and well grounded.

Allred was maybe too grounded, mired in details where he shouldn’t have been (how many non-wonk voters actually followed the talk about whether the budget shortfall was in which fiscal year?) and not enough in some other places (he continues to open himself up for attack with his approach on sales tax exemptions, valid though his core point on it may be). Still comes across as highly informed and gubernatorial, though, and he had a nice closing.

Kemp was the surprise: At least a match in this debate for either of them – as good a debater, clear, informed but concise. If quality of debate were the measure for participation (and for most debate formats, it isn’t), she easily merited a place on stage.

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