Derek Dextraze and Ian Freeman

Derek Dextraze and Ian Freeman

In 2014’s New Hampshire gubernatorial primary, then-incumbent Maggie Hassan refused to debate me in the Monadnock Debates, put on at Franklin Pierce University. Since I was the only democratic candidate for governor to respond, they graciously gave me ten minutes to speak before the republican debate. I figured this year would be different. I thought for sure that having a full field of non-incumbent candidates would mean there’d be an actual, full debate.

Surprise! Looks like the “big three” candidates Mark Connolly, Steve Marchand, and Colin Van Ostern refused to respond to the invitation to this year’s Monadnock Debates. The only two candidates who did respond are author Derek Dextraze and me, Ian Freeman. As a result, the debate organizers decided to not hold the democratic debate this year, like in 2014.

I spoke with Derek about the development today and he said, “I find it interesting that the two candidates that really aren’t politicians said yes to debate. While the other three candidates that WMUR says are the only three candidates on the Democratic side for governor said no or didn’t respond.”

Derek points out another interesting phenomenon from this year’s campaign coverage, which is that some media organizations have been completely ignoring both the Dextraze and Freeman campaigns. WMUR-TV has reported on only three of the democratic candidates in their campaign coverage so far. Similarly, Manchester’s WGIR-AM has held “debates” but only invited the “big three”.

When Derek inquired with WMUR he says they told him, “because I haven’t sent them my itinerary they did not think that I was running.” Sounds like a lame excuse to me. It’s common for NH media organizations to reach out to all ballot qualified candidates. It’s either pure laziness of these media organizations or a deliberate decision to exclude smaller campaigns, despite the face that both Derek Dextraze and Ian Freeman will be on the primary ballot on September 13th, just like the “big three”.

Meanwhile, the republican gubernatorial debate will be happening at Franklin Pierce on Thursday August 18th, featuring most of the primary contenders in that race: Frank Edelblut, Jeanie Forrester, and Ted Gatsas. Chris Sununu claimed to have a scheduling conflict and Jonathan Lavoie did not respond to the invitation.

So far, the Monadnock Debates were the only debate to which both Derek and I were invited. That means that it’s the only fair political debate held statewide and thus far in the history of the Monadnock Debates, the big name democrats have refused to appear while the republicans debated in both 2014 and 2016. Pretty sad for the democratic candidates – not much political courage there, hmm?

Check out Derek’s campaign for governor here on his website or his facebook. He’s a fine competitor and I’m glad to have had the chance to meet him. To learn more about my campaign, check out my campaign page here on the New Hampshire Liberty Party site.