Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo have said they won't participate in primary debates, but Gessler changed course slightly Thursday, telling KHOW host Mandy Connell that he wouldn't rule out a talk-radio debate organized by Connell.
Connell: Scott, let's just say, if I were to have all the candidates on the show at the same time, would you participate in that, on the air? I mean we could really get into some issues.
Gessler: Maybe. Probably not at this point. My focus really is on the convention. You know, I have an election coming up on April 12, and that is the state assembly to get access to the ballot to be nominated to the Republican-primary ballot. So, my focus and strategy is, reaching out to the people who participate in that, whether it's in big groups, media, as well as individual. And so I can't tell you it would fit within that approach, but we'll talk. I won't rule it out. [BigMedia emphasis]
Connell: There will be donuts, Scott.
Connell and other conservative talkers have the ear of the exact group Gessler says he wants to reach: Republican primary voters. KHOW and KNUS are obviously in the "media" category that Gessler mentions above. So, Connell is in a position to exert some serious pressure on Gessler and Tanc.
The question is, will Connell push the issue (maybe offer lox and bagels in addition to donuts?).
If not, will KNUS' Dan Caplis, who's said on air that he hopes to have candidates debate on his show, push the radio-debate idea?
Connell seems pissed, as you can see below from her Feb. 6 show, so maybe she'll persevere:
Connell: I hate this decision [not to debate]. I'm not going to lie. I don't like it... Isn't there any part of you that thinks you're doing a disservice to voters on this?
Gessler: I'm spending my time elsewhere reaching out to voters in a pretty intensive way. And by the way, I'm happy to send you my schedule. You're welcome to come, and ask me any tough question you would like.
Connell: I will. You better be careful what you invite, Scott, because I will come.
Connell should up the ante and put a KHOW all-candidate event on Gessler's schedule.