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To Debate or Not to Debate: Alabama Governor Election

Bree Soto and Lenora Lee

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The Alabama governor election soon occurs with our current governor, Kay Ivey, and the Democratic candidate, Walt Maddox, set to face each other in the polls on November 6th. However, there is just one problem: political debates. There has been a constant question of Governor Ivey’s willingness to debate Maddox on political issues.

In a video recorded by AL.com, Kay Ivey said, “The only two people that ever bring up the subject of debates are juggled in the media and my opponent.” Ivey then continued to say, “He’s all over the map. He can’t figure out where he stands on any important issues like Supreme court, abortion or even gun rights. When he finishes debating himself, we can talk.”

She continued to state that her opponent needed to be honest and when asked if debates were important to voters she replied, “Y’all are the only ones that ask about them.”

Later, AL.com collected a response from Walt Maddox about her reported quotes.

He defended himself by stating, “I’ve been a strong believer of the 2nd amendment and I believe my thirteen years in Tuscaloosa proves that. Unfortunately, Kay Ivey’s campaign and I assume Kay Ivey herself, are hypocrites.”  

As the interview followed with questions of the “debates” and the Supreme Court, Walt Maddox directed the conversation straight to the debates.  

“I participated in every debate, every single forum because it is the right thing to do,” he continued. “She owes the people of Alabama a debate on all these issues that are impacting them.” 

So, should the candidates debate? Debate team member senior Aditi Lamaye said, “Debate is a powerful forum to express various viewpoints and argue the merits of contradictory information. When two political candidates engage in a debate, the viewer (constituent) is informed of their stances, their ability to respond to opposing viewpoints, and is a generally good way to educate the voting people.”

Mrs. Bergeson, the debate team sponsor, said, “A debate would give voters a chance to see what the incumbent and her challenger are really about and to hear their views expressed straight from their mouths. Campaign ads are typically fluff; there’s really nothing substantial in them to inform the voters about specific issues. A debate would fill that information gap. Obviously, Ivey, as the incumbent, doesn’t need the debate to win the election, but she really owes it to her constituents to prioritize information over political strategy.”

Poll results suggest that many Bob Jones students do not know who either candidate is, much less each candidate’s stance on particular issues. Some even mentioned they most likely would never vote. 41.2% of students said their political preference was neutral. On a question referring to Kay Ivey and Walt Maddox’s debate debacle, many students didn’t have an opinion as to why our governor wouldn’t want to debate or said that she possibly wanted to avoid conflict.  

From collected responses of the candidates and the students of BJHS, it can be inferred that with or without debates, the whole topic of this election is a debate itself.  Only time will tell what will come of the future office.

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To Debate or Not to Debate: Alabama Governor Election