FarmFest debates

One of the great attractions at FarmFest, which starts Tuesday at the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls, is the chance for people to meet political candidates and hear them speak on issues at the candidate forums.

But not all candidates want to do that, it seems. Gov. Mark Dayton is planning to stop by FarmFest this year to meet the rural voters, but he plans to skip the governor forum.

Candidates have a lot of reasons for wanting to debate, or to avoid debates. Typically, front-running candidates would just as soon not give their challengers a chance to take whacks at them. They have little to gain and a lot to lose. Candidates who are behind in the polls love a chance debate and possibly gain some ground.

Dayton, no doubt, would just as soon see the four Republican primary candidates take each other on, rather than give them the chance to gang up on him.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tim Walz has issued an invitation to his First District Republican challengers to debate at FarmFest on Aug. 6, and at a later date in Rochester. Republican primary challenger Jim Hagedorn, who has been trying to get the endorsed Republican, Aaron Miller, to debate, has accepted, and Miller confirmed late Saturday he also welcomed the chance to discuss the issues.