The City Club of Idaho Falls has clarified why it did not hold a debate between incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson and challenger Bryan Smith.
Local News 8 anchor Karole Honas, who serves on the City Club board, said Smith chose not to participate because he did not like the City Club choice for moderator.
Mark S. Young, the City Club president, made a statement in response to the many editorials and letters to the editor about the planned debate between the two Republicans.
Young said the proposed moderator was Dr. David Adler, due to "his expertise of moderating debates and his academic credibility, which is sought after in all corners of this land."
He said advancing a political agenda or party is not why the club hosts debates.
"When we set out to host any program at our podium our process is the same," he said. "All of our questions are from the audience at large. All of our questions are presented with respect and civility. We take no stand or attempt to persuade or presume positions from our podium. We provide unedited access to primary information so our audience can decide for themselves. … These goals ... remain our mission and our only mission."
The club has been holding forums since 2007, when it hosted former Gov. Cecil D. Andrus and former U.S. Sen. James A. McClure.