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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why Did Farm Fest Keep Non-Endorsed Female Candidates Out of the Candidate Forum?

From the Becky Lourey Campaign:

August 14, 2006

News Release

Lourey Objects to Short-Circuiting of Democracy
Hatch, party leaders ignore Sept. 12 primary, avoid issues debate

Candidate for Governor Becky Lourey strongly objects to the efforts of Mike Hatch and DFL Party leaders to short-circuit the democratic process by ignoring the Sept. 12 primary to nominate the DFL candidate. Last week, Lourey's request for a debate on the issues was refused by her Sept. 12 primary opponent Mike Hatch.

"Endorsement should never close off the democratic process of selecting candidates at the ballot box," Lourey said. "This effort by party leaders and Mike Hatch to ignore the Sept. 12 primary nomination process is unprecedented and unwise. The DFL Party cannot appear elitist and further alienate Minnesota voters."

Lourey learned that Hatch had refused her request to debate through a radio newscast. In the Hatch campaign response, a spokesperson indicated the debate only should be between Democrats and Republicans. Earlier, Lourey was excluded from the Farmfest debate based solely on the party convention endorsement.

"Democrats can win when we are talking about the issues," Lourey stated in her letter to Hatch. "By defeating Governor Pawlenty and his radical right-wing Republican agenda we Democrats can point our state in a new direction -- away from the politics of division and rancor – and toward improving the lives of Minnesotans.

"Unfortunately, we've mostly seen a battle of personalities among party leaders and media skirmishes," Lourey said. "If only we would start talking about education, health care, personal liberties and energy self-sufficiency, Democrats can show we're on the winning side of those issues.

"My positions on the issues provide a sharp contrast to Tim Pawlenty," Lourey said. "A series of debates would give Attorney General Hatch the same opportunity to finally talk issues."

Senator Becky Lourey, a nationally recognized health care public policy expert, resides in Kerrick in east-central Minnesota. She has 16 years of legislative experience and currently serves as chair of the Minnesota Senate Health and Family Security Committee. Her website is


For further information, please contact press secretary Jim Robins at 612/597-0214 or by email at

August 10, 2006

Attorney General Mike Hatch

P.O. Box 75971
Saint Paul, MN 55175

Dear Mike:

I am writing to request that we work together to energize the Governor's race by conducting three DFL primary debates in the coming weeks. Defeating Tim Pawlenty in November is extremely important to the future of our state. By defeating Governor Pawlenty and his radical right-wing Republican agenda we Democrats can point our state in a new direction -- away from the politics of division and rancor – and toward improving the lives of Minnesotans.

I am sure you will agree that choosing the candidate to represent the DFL in the November election is an extremely important decision for primary voters. As such, all primary voters must have an opportunity to hear from both candidates on the issues that matter most in their lives. While I suggest that our campaigns work out the details, I would recommend that we debate in three different locations in the state.

Democrats can win when we are talking about the issues. I look forward to hearing from you soon so that we can begin to settle on the dates and locations for these debates.

Thank you.


Becky Lourey

I contacted the Lourey campaign for more background. Elizabeth Dickenson gave me the scoop.

FarmFest left our campaign a voicemail and said they were only allowing endorsed candidates at their gubernatorial forum "to keep numbers down". They made the decision late last week. Kent Thiesse is the point person.... [contact info deleted]

This is the letter I sent to the Strib, which they published in netlets.

I will be calling Kent tomorrow to get his response.

Dear Star Tribune,

FarmFest decided only to ask endorsed party candidates to participate in the gubernatorial debate this week. Ironically, this meant my candidate was excluded--state Senator Becky Lourey, the only gubernatorial candidate who has actually farmed.

However, it also meant that none of the primary challengers were included in the debate, either. Ironically, all of the gubernatorial primary challengers from the major parties are women. Coincidence?

I would like to remind any debate sponsors that voters have more choices in the September 12th primary than the four men FarmFest chose to invite. Most voters would like to hear the views of ALL the candidates, regardless of gender or party, for as long as they're in the race. That's what democracy is supposed to be about.


Elizabeth Dickinson
St Paul

I will be contacting Farmfest tomorrow for comment. I've contacted the Jeffers campaign, and have not heard back from them.

What is it that makes these candidates afraid to debate their less funded and non-endorsed opponents.

You can contact Farmfest at these email addresses to ask them.

Farm Shows Group Director
Todd Benz
800.827.8007, extension 3337

Show Manager
Darren Winfield
800.827.8007, extension 3305

Marketing Staff
Janelle Rydberg
800.827.8007, extension 3328

801 East Cliff Road
Burnsville, MN 55337
Operations Staff
Wayne Koenig
800.827.8009, extension 4421

Marshall Brown
800.827.8007, extension 3303

Sales Staff
Bob Olsen
800.827.8007, extension 3308

Wayne Fahrenkamp
800.827.8007, extension 3335

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