The good news is more questions got to be asked than anticipated. The bad news was that was possible because the two District 57 Republican House candidates did not show up for the League of Women Voters debate. The three races in the Apple Valley-Rosemount area could determine which party controls the Minnesota legislature.
The League says Rep. Anna Wills (R) and Ali Jimenez-Hopper (R) informed them an hour or so before the start of the debate that they would not be there. Neither candidate had confirmed that they were going to attend. The lone Republican who did attend, Senate candidate Cory Campbell, said “we were advised not to attend for numerous reasons…unsure of a group not doing an event here in Dakota County and some even viewed this as biased.”
Asked after the debate who advised him not to come, Campbell said it was the Republican establishment “party people, other legislators all said ‘this is kind of a set up they’re trying to get you to say something, whatever it may be.’”
Campbell did not know for sure why Wills and Jimenez-Hopper did not attend the forum. Other candidates at the forum said the two have shown up to other forums put on by the chamber of commerce. Cambell guessed the two had other commitments.
Campbell is facing Sen. Greg Clausen (D) in his race. Wills is running against John Huot (D) who did attend the forum as did Erin Maye Quade (D) who is running against Jimenez-Hopper for the seat held by retiring legislator Tara Mack (R).
The Apple Valley-Rosemount area is a swing district. President Obama won the district in 2012 by a slim 589 vote margin.
The League of Women Voters of St. Paul is organizing the debate. Event partners include National Council of Jewish Women, Civic Eagle, Every Child Matters, Jewish Community Action, and the League of Women Voters St. Louis Park.
Video above: the candidates forum
Video below: The UpTake interviews the candidates