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Still No Debates Ahead of Local August Primary

July 24, 2018 - 7:33 am
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - We're getting close to the August 7th primary, but there haven't been many debates for our reporters to cover. Not in local races, and not in statewide campaigns, including Missouri's Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

“In this case, Hawley is by far the best known of the candidates. His challengers in the primary are not very well known, and engaging in a debate with them would elevate them to a position where they would get more attention and increase the risk a little bit for the front runner,” says UMSL political science professor Dave Robertson.

Robertson also observes that an "awful lot" of debates get cancelled because the candidates can't agree on a date, a venue, the rules, a moderator or any number of other factors. Robertson says both incumbent Prosecutor Bob McCulloch and County Executive Steve Stenger likely feel confident going into the August 7th primary. The professor says incumbents usually only agree to debate when they feel behind or like their message is lost.

“The question for Steve Stenger is ‘I’ve got a record, I’ve got some achievements in office that I can explain to people, is there a reason why people will understand better that they should vote for me if I debate Mantovani or if I don’t,” he says.