Juneau voters: Debates didn't change their minds

Posted: Friday, October 29, 2004

Juneau residents who turned out Thursday night to view the final debate between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Gov. Tony Knowles said the forum did not persuade them to change their vote in the close U.S. Senate election.

About 10 people turned out for a viewing party at the television studio for the public television and radio station KTOO.

"I suspect (Murkowski's) biggest disadvantage is her father," said Pat Fitzgerald, who attended the watch party.

Fitzgerald, 65, gave little more information about his opinion of the hour-long forum in Anchorage, but said it did not change his decision on who he will vote for.

Dick Isett, 67, also said he was not persuaded by the debate, adding that he thought both candidates had a difficult time answering the questions. He said the debate format does not require the candidates to back up their statements on the issues.

"Bills are often so complicated, who knows why they voted for something," Isett said. "It's hard to extract from this testimony what the real record is."

Isett said he had hoped to see "fireworks" and got what he had expected. He said he enjoyed the question posed by KTOO television producer Bill McAllister, asking Knowles why he had promised not to bring up the issue of nepotism early in the campaign and then later made constant reference to Gov. Frank Murkowski's appointment of his daughter.

"He didn't let him off the hook," Isett said.

Isett said the two politicians have both gone negative in the final days leading up to Tuesday's election.

"These are politicians," Isett said. "I wouldn't expect less or more."

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