The first inter-party congressional debates of the political season happened Tuesday morning at Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minnesota. The forum, which focused on rural issues ran for about 90 minutes and included the following participants:
Rep. Tim Walz (D), (First)
Jim Hagedorn (R) (First)
Steve Williams (R) (First)
Rep. Tom Emmer (R) (Sixth )
David Snyder (D) (Sixth)
Bob Helland (D) (Sixth)
Rep. Collin Peterson (D) (Seventh)
David Hughes (R) (Seventh)
Amanda Lynn Hinson (R) (Seventh)
This year’s debates are notable for who is not participating. None of the candidates from the three most closely contested districts debated.
Absent from Farmfest stage this year were the the four Republican candidates vying for MN02, the only congressional seat without an incumbent (Rep. John Kline (R) is retiring) and Democrat Angie Craig. Also not attending were both candidates for Iron Range district MN08 —Rep. Rick Nolan (D) and his Republican opponent Stewart Mills. Neither candidate from suburban MN03 — Rep. Erik Paulsen and his Democratic opponent Terri Bonoff — attended the forum.
Farmfest organizers extended invitations to all of those candidates but say a majority of them in each race decided not to attended.
Minnesota’s third and fourth congressional districts are mostly urban and the candidates are typically not invited to the Farmfest forum.