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Idaho Gov. Brad Little not participating in debate ahead of primary

Ahead of Idaho's May 17 primary election, Gov. Brad Little confirmed to KTVB on Friday that he will not be participating in any debate for governor of the Gem State.

BOISE, Idaho — Ahead of Idaho's May 17 Republican primary election, Gov. Brad Little confirmed to KTVB on Friday that he will not be participating in any debates for governor of the Gem State. 

In an news release, Little's campaign manager, Hayden Rogers, released a statement on the governor's decision to not partake in the televised debates as he runs for reelection: 

"Idaho has the strongest economy in the nation. Governor Little has a proven track record of cutting red tape, responsibly managing the budget and the economy, and providing Idaho families and businesses with historic tax relief and record investments in schools, roads, water, and other areas," Rogers wrote on Little's behalf. "Those historic accomplishments and facts are non-debatable.

"Brad Little is hands-down the most accessible Governor in Idaho history. He has made it a priority to meet with Idaho families, businesses, and members of the press. Idahoans know what Governor Little stands for. They know he will continue to fight for them and make our state the place where our children and grandchildren choose to stay."

Little's campaign also announced he will not be participating in the debate on Idaho Public Television.

According to Betsy Russell, the president of the Idaho Press Club, this is the first time in more than three decades that the sitting governor has refused to participate when running for re-election.

Little has drawn several Republican challengers, including far-right Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin. The governor and lieutenant governor in Idaho run on separate tickets. 

Following Little's decision to decline participating in the debates, McGeachin released a statement on her social media account: 

"We have received confirmation that Mr. Little is refusing to participate in a gubernatorial debate," McGeachin said. "IPTV has confirmed it is not a scheduling conflict, rather he just doesn't want to debate. Once again, he is showing his elitist attitude by refusing to address his record.

Also on Friday, Rep. Priscilla Giddings backed out of a debate for lieutenant governor planned for Monday. She says she believed reporters on a panel asking questions would be biased. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson has also declined to participate in statewide televised primary debates.

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