Daily Lobo to host on-campus candidate debates

Members of the UNM community will hear from candidates for statewide offices Oct. 13- 17 at the New Mexico Daily Lobo’s inaugural General Election Debates series.

Confirmed candidates include Democrat Land Commissioner Ray Powell, Democrat State Sen. Tim Keller, who is running for state auditor and Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who is running for Secretary of State. Democratic candidate for state treasurer Tim Eichenberg and Republican candidate for state auditor Robert Aragon have tentatively agreed.

Jyllian Roach, Daily Lobo editor in chief, said she saw a need to help connect students with the political process.

“I’m hoping that by bringing it to campus more students will be interested and will want to  have a voice and hear what these candidates have to say, and become more actively involved in politics. That’s a big part of what journalism is supposed to do, we’re supposed to encourage civil dialogue and civic engagement,” Roach said.

A Daily Lobo staff member will moderate the forums. Each candidate will have three minutes for both an opening and closing statement.

Questions will focus on issues related to UNM. With each question, there will be a two minute response and a one minute rebuttal.

“It will be wonderful for UNM students. Everyone kind of always forgets about the students,”  said Matthew Liguori, a University of New Mexico alum. “Whether the candidates have accepted or declined shows how much they actually value the student vote and the student voice.”

The forums will be held in front of a live audience, and be recorded. Tickets are available online. For questions, email Roach at editorinchief@dailylobo.com.

The lineup includes:

Secretary of state candidates on Oct. 13

State auditor candidates on Oct. 14.

State land commissioner candidates on Oct. 15

State treasurer candidates on Oct. 16

Attorney general candidates on Oct. 17

All forums will be held in room 163 of the Anthropology Building Room from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If a candidate declines the invitation but the opponent accepts, the candidate who appears will be asked questions for the hour.

Both attorney general candidates, Democrat Hector Balderas and Republican Susan Riedel, have not responded to the invitation.  The only candidate to decline the invitation is Republican land commissioner Aubrey Dunn. Dunn did not respond to calls seeking comment.

The gubernatorial candidates were not invited to the events.

“We kept it to candidates that get less attention,” Roach said.

Meanwhile, students interested in seeing gubernatorial candidates Susana Martinez and Gary King can watch them in televised debates Oct. 6 and 19.

The first will be hosted by the Univision affiliate KLUZ-TV and the second will be hosted by KOAT-TV and the Albuquerque Journal.

Martinez and King also will appear Sept. 22 at a forum in Albuquerque organized by National Association for Industrial and Office Parks. The sold out event will be at the Albuquerque Marriott.