Drama over snubs and no-shows hangs over CD1 debates

John Marion talks about the benefits of debates in the lead up to this September's special election.

This article originally appeared in Providence Business News on August 21, 2023 and was written by Nancy Lavin.  

“If there was a runaway frontrunner, we probably wouldn’t have so many debates,” said John Marion, executive director for Common Cause Rhode Island.  

Not that a slew of debates and forums is a bad thing, at least to Marion. 

“Candidates like to control their message through commercials and press releases, but debates and even forums are a chance for voters and the press to see candidates in a less scripted way,” he said.  

Which is all the more reason why issue-centric forums are important, especially in a congressional race where the winner will have to be up-to-speed on a range of topics including foreign policy, Marion said.  

While Marion acknowledged that any debate or forum organizer could limit participation based on their agenda or other set criteria, it ultimately means less information for voters. 

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