As the June 26th primary approaches, the only congressional debate scheduled won’t feature the position’s incumbent candidate Doug Lamborn.
‘I really don’t know why they did or didn’t,’ said Teller County Republican Chairman Erik Stone, an organizer of the May 31st debate at Woodland Park High School.
‘When we originally started formulating this, Congressman Lamborn wasn’t on the ballot and as soon as he was placed on the ballot, we of course extended him an invitation and I can’t speculate as to why they’re not here I can tell you that they’ll certainly be missed,’ said Stone.
Without Lamborn, the debate will now be between El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, State Senator Owen Hill, Former Texas Judge Bill Rhea, and Former Green Mountain Falls Mayor Tyler Stevens.
Stone says he believes this is the 1st time that Teller County has hosted a congressional debate, and so far, it’s the only debate scheduled for the candidates in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District.
‘You know, this has been an interesting season,’ said Stone. ‘We’ve had court filings and judges rulings putting people on and off of ballots, and we thought it was important for everyone to get to know all of these candidates, because as a Republican party we have an incredibly diverse slate of candidates,’ the chairman added.
The district comprises of voters in Chaffee, El Paso, Fremont, and Teller counties as well as parts of Park county.
News 5 reached out to Lamborn’s campaign but did not hear back.
Thursday night’s debate will feature a younger crowd at the moderator table- members of Woodland Park High School’s Speech & Debate team.
‘We teach our students about debate being involved in the political process, you know just how to research topics, be involved,’ said Bill Brown, Debate Coach at Woodland Park High School, ‘what a great opportunity for our students to see the process up close.’
The Republican Party chairman added that they felt it would be a way to help with the party’s goal of connecting with younger voters.
Brown says the students are prepared to ask questions, with a focus on some topics that impact students such as school shootings and costs of higher education.
‘That’s part of my interest, is just encouraging them to be engaged, you know-regardless Republican/Democrat, I don’t care but just to be engaged and a part of the process, be an active citizen of the country,’ said Brown.
The debate is open to the public, organizers are encouraging attendees to give a $10 donation that will go towards the speech and debate team.
Thursday night’s debate starts at 6:15 p.m. with a Meet and Greet with the candidates, the debate will get underway at 7 p.m.
There will also be a question and answer session with audience members.