BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday's debate between Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and City Council President Lauren McLean will likely be the last one before voters go back to the polls on Dec. 3.
Bieter released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying he was excited to continue the debate with McLean next week during televised debates with KTVB and KBOI.
However, about an hour and a half later McLean sent out a statement to the media that she’s already participated in nine debates/forums and was glad to engage with the mayor at the City Club Tuesday. And that’s enough.
McLean will not be taking part in any more debates. She said she knows where Bieter stands on the issues and they covered the same ground time and again. She plans to spend the coming weeks talking with voters and also plans to hold four listening session between now and Nov. 26.
KTVB has tried numerous times since the election to secure a date for a runoff debate that would meet both candidates schedules.
Bieter's campaign told us they would be available for either the 18th or 19th.
McLean's campaign said that week wouldn't work.
KTVB made numerous attempts to find a date that would fit in with their schedule. But, late Tuesday, the McLean campaign told us they will not be doing any more debates.
Below is the full text of the statements we received Tuesday from Bieter and McLean.
Statement from Mayor Dave Bieter:
“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this runoff is a different election. There’s no time for distractions. Now is the time to focus on the people of Boise and the leadership they deserve, not campaign rhetoric or image-building tactics.
Being mayor is a tough job. You have to make hard decisions every day for the long-term best interest of Boise and our people, no matter the political consequences. Boiseans now have the chance to compare two people with drastically different records on making those hard decisions. Whether it be issues of affordable housing, transportation, protecting our precious outdoor spaces, or approaching homelessness with thoughtful compassion while preventing encampments from forming, I have made it clear that I am the only candidate prepared to continue making the hard decisions necessary to move our city into the future.
I’m excited to continue drawing these clear distinctions between myself and Council Member McLean next week with our televised debates on KBOI and KTVB. Boiseans now have 21 days until they cast their ballots again and I believe they’ll make the right choice on December 3rd.”
Statement from Lauren McLean:
My campaign is rooted in listening, not drama. When I initiated citywide town halls as a council member, I was struck by how many people felt left out of the conversation about our city's future. Those town halls prompted me to run for mayor and engage in more than 30 listening sessions all around our community over the past five months. I’ve personally knocked on thousands of doors and texted with more than 12,000 voters to answer their questions about my vision for Boise’s future.
I’ve already happily participated in nine debates/forums (including one the mayor did not attend), and I was glad to engage with the mayor at City Club today. (Thanks to KTVB and Boise State Public Radio for making the broadcast readily available on television and radio later this week.) I believe that debates are largely of interest to people with the spare time to tune in and inclination to seek out “fireworks.” The people of Boise begin absentee voting this weekend, and early voting starts on Monday. Time is short.
So, no, I’m not going to continue to debate Mayor Bieter, though he's pushing hard for additional opportunities to fight. I know where he stands, and we’ve covered the same ground time and again. There's a great deal of work to do in a short amount of time, and I'm prioritizing people over performative politics.
Here are several opportunities where Boise residents can (again) meet me, ask the tough questions, and share their concerns for Boise’s future:
Saturday, Nov. 16, 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The Big Boise Listening Tour: Library! At Collister
4724 W. State Street
Sunday, Nov. 17, 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
The Big Boise Listening Tour: Library! At Bown Crossing Library
2153 E. Riverwalk Drive
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
The Big Boise Listening Tour: Bikes & Beans Coffee on the Bench
1350 S. Vista
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
The Big Boise Listening Tour: Library! At Cole & Ustick
7557 W. Ustick Road
Editor's note: KTVB had not planned and currently doesn't have a broadcast time slot scheduled for Tuesday's forum. The event was streamed live on KTVB.COM, the KTVB app, and KTVB's YouTube channel. You can watch it here: