At a press conference held in Cheyenne Democratic candidate for governor Pete Gosar challenged incumbent Gov. Matt Mead (R) and third party candidates to a series of five live-streamed debates where the public can ask any question. The debates would be held in communities around Wyoming that don’t usually have the chance to attend or participate in debates. (Gregory Nickerson/WyoFile — click to enlarge)
At a press conference held in Cheyenne Democratic candidate for governor Pete Gosar challenged incumbent Gov. Matt Mead (R) and third party candidates to a series of five live-streamed debates where the public can ask any question. The debates would be held in communities around Wyoming that don’t usually have the chance to attend or participate in debates. (Gregory Nickerson/WyoFile — click to enlarge)

Gosar challenges Gov. Mead to five live-streamed debates, Mead declines

By Gregory Nickerson
September 4, 2014

Democratic candidate for Wyoming governor Pete Gosar proposed that Gov. Matt Mead (R) join him in a series of five live-streamed debates leading up to the general election on November 4. The debates would be broadcast on the Internet, with 100 percent of the questions coming from the public.

Pete Gosar opened his press conference by showing this image of a political showdown. (Gregory Nickerson/WyoFile — click to enlarge)

“Today my campaign and many other campaigns are live-streaming,” Gosar said. “The technology is available, the questions are there and we have an obligation to answer them. … We have the ability to take any question any time.”

Speaking from a press conference in Cheyenne this afternoon, Gosar proposed that the live debates be held at locations around the state that don’t typically host candidate forums. He suggested towns like Rock Springs, Sheridan, and Cody as potential locations, rather than the customary sites of Cheyenne, Casper, and Riverton.

“I think debate breaks down geographically,” Gosar said. “I grew up in Pinedale and we never had the opportunity to see a governor.”

During his campaign Gosar has hosted public questioning sessions via the web on Wednesday nights. “Last night I was in Green River and we did our Wednesday night chat, and I took a question from Lusk,” Gosar said. “You can’t hide if you put yourself out there and take any question any time.”

Gov. Mead has already consented to two debates leading up to the election. Wyoming PBS will host a gubernatorial debate Thursday October 16 at 7 p.m.  Mead and Gosar have committed to attending, as have Libertarian Dee Cozzens and independent candidate Don Wills.

Gosar said that all candidates who have met the qualifications for running would be welcome to join the live streamed debates.

“We have legitimate policy disagreements on Medicaid, Senate File 104, education, hunting and fishing, and the wage gap,” Gosar wrote of Mead in a prepared statement. “We also have a different belief in governmental transparency, and I refute the deliberative process exemption that the current administration supports. These are critical topics for the future of Wyoming and these discussion need to be heard by Wyoming residents throughout the state.”

After the press conference Gosar for Governor campaign manager Deanna Frey sent word to the Mead for Governor campaign to discuss the debate proposal. The Gosar campaign requested a response from Mead’s campaign by Wednesday, September 10.

“We will do (the debates) at their convenience, anytime, anywhere,” Gosar said. “I think these conversations are long overdue. Whether it be Medicaid expansion, science standards, or a gas tax, I think the people have the right to know why the Governor is doing what he is doing.”

The Mead campaign was not available to answer WyoFile’s call for comment by press time.

Update: The Mead campaign declined to accept Gosar’s proposals later in the evening. Campagin manager Gale Geringer provided the following statement:

Matt Mead has already committed to debating, and in fact, has already debated with the democratic contender at the League of Women Voters debate in Cheyenne. He will also participate in statewide debates sponsored by Wyoming Public TV and the Casper Star Tribune, KCWY TV and Casper College.  These debates are designed to reach a state wide audience and to be accessible by all voters – 18 to 98. These are available via a wide variety of media – print, TV and the internet. Matt Mead believes they provide the best opportunity for the most people to have access to all the candidates and their positions on the issues.

— Gregory Nickerson is the government and policy reporter for WyoFile. He writes the Capitol Beat blog. Contact him at greg@wyofile.com or follow him on twitter @GregNickersonWY.

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Gregory Nickerson

Gregory Nickerson worked as government and policy reporter for WyoFile from 2012-2015. He studied history at the University of Wyoming. Follow Greg on Twitter at @GregNickersonWY and on www.facebook.com/GregoryNickersonWriter/

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