Idaho Dispatch

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Eric Parker (R) and State Sen. Michelle Stennett (D) Square Off in First Debate in Hailey

By • September 18, 2020

There are not a lot of state legislative races that political pundits expect to be “swing” seats in Idaho.

District 5 (Moscow), District 15 (Western Boise), District 26 (Sun Valley area), and District 29 (Pocatello) are the four most-cited districts in Idaho where potential seats can flip. Of course, in any election, there can always be surprises but many of the other districts in Idaho are usually heavily controlled by either Democrats or Republicans.

One race in District 26 has caught the attention of some voters and pundits. Eric Parker (Republican) is challenging State Senator Michelle Stennett.

Yesterday Parker debated Stennett in Hailey with national media and local media covering the event which was put on Central Idaho for Liberty.

The debate lasted for approximately one hour with neither candidate openly attacking the other candidate’s responses to questions. Each candidate had one moderator who asked a series of questions for both candidates.

One question from Stennett’s moderator was directed at Parker’s prior conviction from the Nevada Bundy standoff. Parker’s moderator asked a question that seemed geared toward Stennett’s campaign donations.

Aside from those questions, the moderators asked questions discussing guns, abortion, taxes, lands, property taxes, and more.

The crowd was limited in size due to social distancing set up in the facility. Approximately, 20 people attended the event in person which included some individuals who were sitting just outside an open door.

We spoke with Tatyana Gray, founder of Central Idaho for Liberty, about the event and how she felt it went overall. She told Idaho Dispatch,

If I had to summarize the debate, I’d call it the battle of the backgrounds.  We had the dynasty politician vs. the daring electrician.  Sen. Stennett was polished, as expected, maybe even a bit rehearsed.  Mr. Parker, being on his first campaign trail, was not afraid to admit to a learning curve ahead of him.  I am excited to see how both campaigns evolve between now and the election.

We also spoke with Sen. Stennett and Eric Parker after the event.

Here is our interview with Stennett:

Here is our interview with Eric Parker:

Both candidates will attend several more debates in the coming days.

Who do you think won this debate? Who do you believe will win this race in November?

Let us know in the comments below.

Note: If you wish to watch the debate, you can catch the replay on Facebook or on the YouTube video here:


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