Debate helps some make up their mind

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 23, 2000

Although the St.

Monday, October 23, 2000

Although the St. Paul Pioneer Press declared that they would endorse none of the candidates for U.S. Senate in a race the paper’s editorial staff called "a contest between mediocrities," most audience members left Sunday’s debate in Austin with a better idea of each candidate’s positions and who among them they favored.

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Organizers estimated between 200 and 300 turned up for the debate. KMSP Channel 9 also broadcast the debate live to viewers in 85 percent of the state.

Local resident and League of Women Voters member Dorothy Owens was especially pleased that all four major parties were represented in the league-sponsored debate.

"I got a lot more insight into all the issues than what I had before," she said after the debate. "I’m not sure I will change my mind about who I’m going to vote for, but I will certainly give more thought to the issues."

Vern Gavin said the evening "definitely widened the gap" between candidates. He had already been leaning toward Dayton, and the DFL candidate was definitely his choice by the time he left.

"He fits my needs more," Gavin said.

Kyle Klaehn, who was one of the few local residents who got to question the candidates, was pleased he had attended the live debate.

"There wasn’t any one thing that would make up my mind, I actually liked the ideas from three of the candidates," he said. "I’d say now my mind is pretty much made up though."