Democratic candidate Sue Minter squares off in a debate against an empty chair.
Republican Governor candidate Phil Scott declined to participate, but the debate continued as if he was still there.
The debate was broadcast LIVE from the Tunbridge World’s Fair on WDEV Radio, but it’s hard to debate when there’s only one candidate present.
“We would’ve had Phil Scott do his opening statement, but he is not here,” said moderator, Mike Smith.
Yes, for Democratic Governor candidate Sue Minter, debate was a solo affair. Because debate host WDEV Radio only invited major party candidates, Phil Scott declined the invitation.
Scott’s condition to have debates invite all candidates running is one of many going forward. The governor debates must be approved by the Scott campaign 4 weeks prior to the debate date, broadcast LIVE, and hosted by non-partisan Vermont media.
“The Scott campaign put conditions on the debate, which we rejected,” announced moderator Mike Smith who stuck with the original debate rules as if Scott was there.
“The question would have been, Mr. Scott you have proposed a ban on industrial wind, why?” he announced to an empty chair.
Minter took advantage of the open stage.
“I am very concerned about the Vermont Health Connect system and that would be a top priority of my health care agenda,” says Minter.
But some Vermonters came to the fair to hear from both candidates.
“I was really hoping Scott would show up today so that I could hear Minter and Scott,” said undecided voter, Joie Finley.
She says the debate was a missed opportunity for Scott.
“I was hoping he would change his mind at the last minute and do the right thing and show up I mean this is after all the World’s Fair,” says Finley.
Scott’s campaign says the debate conditions are meant to ensure there are a reasonable number of fair and neutral debates reaching as many Vermonters as possible.
“I look forward to debating Phil, I look forward to debating Bill Lee and I know we will have plenty of time to discuss the issues,” says Minter.
At the Tunbridge World’s Fair, Sue Minter unveiled her plans to strengthen Vermont’s Ag economy, which includes expanding job training and organic dairy farming.