Twenty-seven Iowa Democratic Party activists and county leaders have signed on to a national effort that’s pressuring the Democratic National Committee to allow more than four debates among the Democratic presidential candidates before the Iowa Caucuses.
Jasper County Democratic Party chairman Taylor Van De Krol said during a conference call arranged by #AllowDebate that a debate performance can change minds.
“I think that we need to have more debates,” Van De Krol said, “and that we need to have more real, raw discussion.”
Van De Krol hasn’t endorsed a candidate yet, but he plans to do so. Cedar County Democratic Party chairman Larry Hodgden has endorsed Martin O’Malley, a candidate who has been calling for more debates. Hodgden said even if it’s not intentional, it appears the Democratic National Committee is “showing favoritism” toward Hillary Clinton by not exposing her to many debates with her competitors.
“What they’re doing is they’re hurting the Democratic Party in the process, more worried about protecting somebody than they are building up the party overall,” Hodgden said. “…(That) could come back to hurt the Democratic Party and hurt our changes to win the election next fall.”
Marcia Fulton, the chair of Union County Democrats, hasn’t picked a candidate yet, but she’s also joining the call for more debates.
“I actually think that Secretary Clinton would benefit from more debates…but she may be being protected by the DNC,” Fulton said.
Mitchell County Democratic Party chairman Kurt Meyer said local Democrats want more “thorough, rigorous” debates.
“These debates would give voters a chance to size up the candidates,” Meyer said, “and I think more debates will lead to more informed and engaged voters.”
The Democratic National Committee has sanctioned a total of six debates and the party’s presidential candidates are banned from participating in other debates. The first debate is scheduled for October 13. The Iowa Caucuses are scheduled for February 1.