Our View: King should open up

Our View

In short: Attorney General Troy King should prioritize talking to voters, including students, over fundraisers.

Thursday night, three candidates for Alabama’s attorney general debated the issues that Tuscaloosa voters, including UA students, care about. They debated their various approaches to matters like the ongoing bingo debate and how the state will approach the constitutionality of the recent health care reforms.

Unfortunately, voters didn’t get to hear from perhaps the most important candidate in the race: current Attorney General Troy King.

King was absent from the debate due to a scheduling conflict. While Tuscaloosa residents got to hear from other candidates, they didn’t get to hear from the person who holds the job now and is leading the fight against bingo and the national health care reforms Congress approved.

Tuscaloosa hasn’t heard from King in a while, particularly not much in this election cycle after so many new developments on the gambling and health care fronts. West Alabama deserves to hear King’s plans in person before the polls open on June 1.

While other candidates are slugging it out at public forums, King has been speaking at fundraisers for people who typically agree with him wholeheartedly. That may get him the most money and the least conflict, but conflict is exactly what voters need to see during a campaign. How can Alabamians be expected to make an informed decision when they never get the chance to see a top candidate sweat under the lights?

Thursday’s debate was planned far in advance, and King had originally planned to attend. His campaign decided to pull out of the debate not long before, harming the trust of Tuscaloosa residents and demonstrating an apparent lack of interest in reaching out to voters.

Debates like this one are not only good venues for candidates to have their ideas challenged and to challenge the ideas of their opponents, but they open up the campaign to people who might not attend the cookouts and fundraisers sponsored by only one campaign. Alabamians who haven’t decided on a candidate and want to be informed are far more likely to attend an event with all of the candidates than just one.

Unfortunately, undecided voters who went to the debate on Thursday didn’t get to hear from Troy King. And, unless voters walked away with unfavorable views of Giles Perkins, James Anderson and Luther Strange, they probably won’t hold this debate as a great example of why they should vote for King.

It’s partially King’s loss, but it’s mostly a loss for voters in West Alabama.

King would benefit himself if he would talk to everyone, including UA students and Tuscaloosa residents. As it stands now, his grandstanding on controversial issues is meaningless if he won’t go out and talk to voters.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.