GOP candidates back out of local debate

Last week, the Bemidji Chapter of the League of Women Voters held a series of candidate debates for both local and legislative offices.

Some Republican legislative candidates and incumbents opted out of participation.

In a letter, signed by District 5 Senator Justin Eichorn, District 2 Senator Paul Utke, and candidate for House 5A Matt Bliss, they said, “In light of the organizers and leadership’s blatant support for one-sided party preference and corresponding policy issues, we feel that they have compromised the non-partisan nature of the organization and any debate they host.”

DFL candidate for Senate District 5, and current Bemidji Mayor, Rita Albrecht said,“These forums are long-standing traditions in Minnesota politics and offer the most accessible way for constituents to learn about the candidates, their records and their values. It is unacceptable that any candidate would back out of a forum this close to election day and deny voters a chance to be better informed.”


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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