Kay Ivey continues to duck gubernatorial debates – who could blame her?

Kay Ivey_Walt Maddox

On Tuesday, Walt Maddox‘s campaign started the day with a challenge to Gov. Kay Ivey for a debate.

This is nothing new he’s been talking about debating her for some time, Ivey’s primary opponents challenged her to multiple debates (calls that went unanswered) as well. I wrote about it at the time, with the opinion that Ivey was smart to duck the debates as she had nothing to gain and everything to lose. That said, I still felt like she owed it to her constituents to stand with the other Republican candidates and let their differences be known. That logic doesn’t apply here with Maddox, their opinions and positions are so far apart that we don’t need them on the same stage to learn the nuances.

While I appreciate the sentiment that voters should get to hear from both candidates, the fact is a debate would not be worth Kay Ivey’s time nor would it change any voter’s minds. I can’t see an upside whatsoever for Ivey debating Maddox nor can I see any benefit to the voters.

The spectacle of a debate would do less to show their policy position differences than show their glaring age differences, speaking styles, and the stark differences in the general health and vitality of the two. Putting them side-by-side does nothing but help Maddox.

Doug Jones‘ long shot victory may have breathed life into the hopes of democrats throughout the state, but Maddox’s victory is still a long-shot while Ivey maintains a ridiculously high approval rating and Republicans in general maintain a voter registration and turnout lead. Barring any unforeseeable, incredible circumstances there is no rhyme or reason, or way that Ivey doesn’t have a straight path to victory in the November general election shored up already.

The Maddox campaign can stomp its feet all it wants, and Ivey’s campaign can continue to retort in however snarky ways they want to — their snarky response Tuesday was in fact clever but there’s no way she gets up on a stage with him.

If I were the Maddox campaign I’d keep at the requests, they may energize his supporters even if Ivey and her supporters turn a deaf ear to them, but more importantly I’d hope for some of that Doug Jones or Randall Woodfin magic turn out.

There’s really no one on the Republican ballot that’s going to excite voters to turn out, no one is waking up chomping at the bit to go re-elect Ivey. Maddox on the other hand has broad appeal for progressives. That’s where his energy is better spent.