The debate on whether the Legislative District 26 Senate candidates will debate has become like a cash cow for The Range. Every few weeks, there’s a new development, a new promise and a new complaint, but we still haven’t seen a debate.
We thought the good times were coming to an end, though, when Dave Perry, the editor and publisher of the Explorer newspaper, set up something that both candidates agreed on: a nonpartisan debate hosted by the paper between state Sen. Al Melvin and his rematch contestant, Democrat Cheryl Cage.
Perry says he wanted to run the debate himself to make sure it was fair and informative and didn’t get hijacked by either party or any special-interest groups.
Melvin apparently trusted Perry to do just that, and wrote a confirmation email saying, “Dave, Count me in. I’m sure you will give this a lot of thought and that you will do your utmost to make the event fair and balanced.”
But Melvin now says he won’t attend the debate unless his two new requirements are met: 1) The debate also includes the three House of Representatives candidates. and 2) it is held at one of four places he has chosen.
“I attempted to put together a debate between the two Senate candidates, and they both initially agreed to do it but on further reflection Senator Melvin has concerns about the venue and he has concerns about not including the House candidates,” Perry says.
Perry had originally scheduled it at Mountain View High School, which Melvin says he didn’t like because