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Grand View gubernatorial debate canceled

The gubernatorial debate scheduled for Aug. 19 at Grand View Lodge has been canceled according to information released by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, one of the sponsoring organizations. Gov. Mark Dayton has declined to participate, the chamber statement said.

The debate had been expected to be the first face-to-face exchange between the gubernatorial candidates after the Aug. 12 primary. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce was also going to co-sponsor the event.

Although Dayton plans to participate in other debates after Labor Day, none of them are scheduled to take place in the Brainerd lakes area, chamber officials said.

Responding to a reporter's question, Jeremy Drucker, communications director, confirmed the governor had earlier turned down debate offers at the Minnesota State Fair and FarmFest.

In a letter to the Minnesota Chamber, Katharine Tinucci, Dayton's campaign manager, said her candidate would not be able to participate in the Aug. 19 debate. She explained that in 2010 there were more than 30 general election debates involving the three major party candidates.

"We believe that number was far too many for the candidates and also for the Minnesota voters," Tinucci.

She said the campaign reviewed other campaigns for governor and U.S. senator in the last decade and found that the principals debated between four and seven times.

"We have decided that Governor Dayton will participate in six general election debates, starting after Labor Day," she wrote. "We look forward to negotiating with the GOP nominee after the Primary Election to determine the debates."

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
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