I generally find debates between candidates who are already well known to be tedious, often mechanical affairs. So I’m glad for an event that provides a little interest outside of the usual aspects, which is apparently the case for an upcoming Perry versus Hutchison debate.
Paul Burka, the dean of Texas political writers, won’t be asking questions when the Republican gubernatorial candidates debate next month. He’s been banned.
“I didn’t like the idea of it,” says Terry Sullivan, campaign manager for candidate Kay Bailey Hutchison. “He’s got his mind made up on the race.”
Texas Monthly, where Burka works as executive editor, writer, and a popular blogger, was a sponsor of the debate. When the chief sponsor — KERA-TV in Dallas — told the magazine they were welcome to send any panelist except for Burka, the magazine not only declined to substitute someone but also pulled its name off the January 14 event. Other sponsors — KERA, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, KTVT-TV in Dallas, Univision, and the Texas Association of Broadcasters — remain.
“We were dismayed at what they decided to do, and surprised, given Paul Burka’s involvement in past debates,” says Jake Silverstein, the magazine’s editor. “We stand behind everything he does, and we consider his voice our voice on Texas politics.”
Silverstein tells his side of it here, while Burka himself weighs in here. I think KBH’s campaign overreacted and is being petulant. As commenter Stevie F said on Silverstein’s post, how could Burka write about this race and not say anything about what a hash KBH has made of it? This is bush league. Now I hope one of the moderators brings this up and asks KBH to counter Burka’s criticisms about her campaign. She’s made it an issue, let her defend it. Come and Take It has more.