Boise mayoral candidate Lauren McLean announced Tuesday after their debate that she won’t debate incumbent Dave Bieter ahead of the runoff election next month.
Bieter criticized McLean’s announcement Wednesday morning, through a press release.
“Boiseans deserve to see how their mayor reacts to adversity and defends their vision for the future of our city against their opponents,” the press release read, “not just how they choose to curate their image in situations they control.”
He had also previously said he was “excited” for their upcoming debates.
Charles Hunt is a political science professor at Boise State University, and says that McLean’s sizable lead in the general election may have influenced her decision.
“The candidates who stand the most to gain from debates are usually the candidates who are farther behind,” Hunt said. “And the candidates who stand the most from not having them are those ones that are far ahead.”
That said, Hunt says Bieter could still benefit.
“Even though McLean made the initial statement,” Hunt explained, “there’s no doubt that this is going to be a potential strategy for Mayor Beiter in terms of trying to sour public opinion on his opponent.”
Hunt says that the closer debates occur to voting day, the more they influence how people vote.
The runoff election is Dec. 3, absentee voting begins Monday.
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