Senator Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has declined a Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) invite to debate both his Republican and Independence Party opponents at the Minnesota State Fair. The debates had enjoyed a 20 year MRP tradition.
Franken’s campaign gave no explanation. Perhaps this is what one party rule looks like.
In 1994 the DFL candidates for governor, John Marty, Mike Hatch and Tony Bouza debated. Democrat Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Republican Mark Kennedy debated on the MPR stage in 2006 when they were competing for an open Senate seat. Klobuchar also debated Republican Kurt Bills at the MPR fair booth in 2012.
The decision in recent years by the Legislature to move the primary election to August has ensured that the candidates debating at the fair are the parties’ nominees.