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The Debate Dance

It’s pretty simple. Democrat Tom Holland wants to debate. Republican Sam Brownback does not.

Earlier this summer, Holland announced he wanted to meet Brownback for a total of 10 debates. All on television or radio and all moderated by a neutral party. Brownback appeased the one-term state legislator and debated him in front of a live audience at the Kansas State Fair last Saturday. The debate was a circus of he-said, he-said back and forths that were frequently interrupted by shouting audience members. Holland, with a slim record to stand on, used the debate as an opportunity to punch holes in Browback’s message. Brownback went farther in responding to questions but still took advantages of opportunities to link Holland with his fellow party members in Washington. The debate was more entertainment than educational and probably did little to convince someone to switch sides or denounce their candidate.

Now, Holland is challenging Brownback to a second debate and Brownback, not surprisingly, is saying no thank you, claiming he needs to be in Washington to serve his constituents.

In a comment sent to The Sentinel staff, the Brownback campaign has already complained of the habitual attacks from the Holland campaign calling them absurd. Brownback and his staff is content to continue their bus tour and simply ignore Holland. And, really, Brownback has the supporters to do it. Kansas is a red state and the national politics are only helping the GOP.

But Holland is convinced that more debates will equal more votes. He believes there are enough moderates in the state that don’t support Brownback and that by punching holes in Brownback’s message, he is going to win them over. Debates are a major part of the campaign’s strategy and without an opponent, their message doesn’t get out. On Wednesday, Holland went so far as to offer to pay for Brownback’s transportation back to Kansas.

Saturday’s debate was likely the last, Brownback isn’t interested in enduring another two hours of jabs and accusations and has no problem saying no thanks.


About Katie Stockstill-Sawyer

I am a city girl that is learning about life on the farm. I met and married a fourth-generation farmer, Derek. I am now a farmer's wife and country girl. The move has required a few changes and a lot of learning. But I wouldn't change my new life and all of the little lessons and surprises it provides.


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