Local Politics

To Debate, or Not to Debate? Ask Dem Gubernatorial Candidates

Posted March 21, 2008 12:12 a.m. EDT
Updated October 10, 2011 2:23 p.m. EDT

— A hot debate has arisen between the two Democratic gubenoratorial candidates: Do they need to meet in a traditional one-on-one debate?

Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore agree that they have meet in numerous civic forums, including one held in downtown Raleigh by the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association Thursday evening. Both have appeared in televised forums, including one sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in January.

They disagree, though, on if those discussions amount to genuine debates.

"We've had no debates," Moore said. "We've had forums where we were given questions in advance and appeared beside each other."

"We have debated. We've had four televised debates," Perdue said. "I think it's an odd thing to whine about."

Balow Harget, a political commentator and talk-radio show host, said Perdue is employing a common strategy for front runners. By minimizing debates, Harget said, she avoids any possible missteps.

"When you're in the lead, you don't want to give any air time to your opponents," Harget said. "She will, as the front runner, I think, be more careful about where she's going to be talking and who she's going to be talking to."

Moore said that if Perdue is using that strategy, she has misplaced her priorities.

"It shouldn't matter what the poll numbers say," Moore said. "If you want to run for the highest office in the land, you should not hide."

The most recent polls give Perdue a double-digit lead over Moore, but she denied those numbers were driving her to avoid a debate. Rather, Perdue said, she wants to engage potential voters in more direct ways.

"I think it's equally important for us and for all the candidates to get out and about all over North Carolina and to let real people ask questions, to let them say, 'Bev, what are you going to do about that?'" Perdue said. "Everybody deserves that shot."

Perdue and Moore were scheduled to participate in an online and televised forum in April.