Election 2022: No gubernatorial debate in Nebraska this fall

Pillen calls it ‘politcal theater’; Blood likens it to a job interview
Voters won't see any debates between candidates for Nebraska governor.
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska voters won’t see any debates between gubernatorial candidates this election season.

While Democratic candidate Carol Blood wants to debate, Republican candidate Jim Pillen said he believes a debate is nothing but “political theater.”

Pillen told 6 News that he’s been “the most accessible gubernatorial candidate in Nebraska’s history.” His team says he’s “actively making his case directly to the voters... every day” through town halls and candidate forums.

But he won’t be participating in a debate.

Blood, his challenger, said she doesn’t get it.

“It’s clear that when you apply for a job in the executive branch, you have a job interview that you have to participate in and that’s called debates,” she said.

The Nebraska State Fair is a little more week away. One staple of the Nebraska get-together is a political debate.

Nebraska political experts say it’s a rarity that candidates for the state’s top office don’t debate — but concede that it’s not entirely unexpected.

“It didn’t surprise me. It didn’t,” said Randy Adkins, a political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. “(Pillen is) a front-runner, and front-runners sometimes dictate the terms of the race.”

Pillen’s campaign called Blood’s campaign a “sad” one, saying a debate would simply be a media vehicle to prop up her campaign.

But Blood sees it differently.

“They’re trying to label debate as ‘political theatre’ — to me, the political theatre were the horrible ads I saw during the primary where they’re trying to discredit their political opponents,” she said.

Election Day is two and a half months away, on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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