Offering a politician a microphone, a stage and a large crowd is usually akin to providing steak to a hungry lion. They’re all over it in an instant.
Which brings us to the unusual matter of Rep. Kristi Noem declining a State Fair debate with Matt Varilek. Noem’s campaign manager. Tom Erickson, told the South Dakota Farmers Union that she will pass on the Sept. 1 debate.
Here are the details.
Varilek and his staff said they were stunned. Frankly, so are we. The State Fair debates seem like a South Dakota tradition.
Noem, a freshman Republican, held her own against Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin during the 2010 campaign debates. And Noem has agreed to three other debates with Varilek: the first is Wednesday here in Mitchell at Dakotafest.
The other two are Oct. 18 on South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Nov. 2 on KELO.
The Farmers Union is often seen as a Democratic-leaning organization, but still, this is at the State Fair. The audience will reflect South Dakota, and both parties always bring a lot of people to wear T-shirts and shout and wave to back their candidate.
The stalled farm bill is probably part of this reason. Noem wants to see it pass, but so far it has not even been scheduled for a vote in the full House. On Thursday morning, she released a letter she wrote to President Obama asking for his help to pass the bill.
That was curious, but this is even more so.