Candidates at the Boone County Fair are being forced to resort to old-fashioned stump-speaking to reach the public after their planned debate forums failed to generate much interest.
After a poor showing Tuesday night for the congressional and sheriff candidate forums, the decision was made to cancel Thursday night’s event in favor of individual speaking time for each of the candidates, said Vicki Russell, president of the Fair Board.
“We had the same experience two years ago (with poor turnout for political forums),” Russell said. “It may be that the fair just isn’t the right forum for debates.”
Sheriff candidate Ken Kreigh said the booth hasn’t been the only venue for candidate debate. However, in the final weeks of campaigning before the primary election, every opportunity counts.
“I think an awful lot of people are not really aware of the candidates and will choose who to vote for in the last week,” Kreigh said.
The point, counterpoint format of the debate would have helped raise issues that citizens were interested in, said O.J. Stone, who is running against Kreigh and Dwayne Carey in the Democratic primary Aug. 3.
“I was really disappointed — I think all of the candidates were really looking forward to it,” Stone said.
Russell said that she doubts that they will schedule debates for next year’s fair.
The stump-speaking is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight in front of the main building.