Last updated: May 27. 2014 1:29AM - 484 Views

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Last week’s primary has set the stage for an intriguing fall election, with competitive races shaping up from the very top of the ballot to the bottom.

While we are disappointed by yet another low turnout by voters — 19 percent — we still remain optimistic because of the quality of the candidates who entered the field and those who survived the primary culling process.

In two races at the top of the heap — Rep. Nick Rahall against state Sen. Evan Jenkins, and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito against Secretary of State Natalie Tennant — we think debates are in order.

Much of what we have learned about the candidates so far has come from out-of-state, national political reporters, or out-of-state attack ads aired on West Virginia television stations.

At present, Democrats hold the Senate with 53 members, while Republicans have 45 members. Two in the Senate are independents.

In the House, it is the Republican Party with a majority, 233-199.

That may be a crucial issue in Washington, but we think obsessing about who controls Congress detracts from discussions about our needs here in southern West Virginia.

This is why we look forward to debates among the candidates here. These debates will not be focused on the extraneous issue of whether Democrats or Republicans will hold the U.S. House or Senate, but on the issues important to southern West Virginia.

We want the candidates to concentrate on our issues, and give us answers to questions asked by West Virginians.

We think the candidates need to debate in southern West Virginia as well. To our mind, debates in Huntington and Beckley make sense for both the Senate and the 3rd Congressional District candidates, since both cities are within the boundaries of the 3rd District.

We also look forward to the debates because we think slickly produced television attack ads don’t tell us enough about the candidates who are seeking to represent us. They may well be effective with voters, but we want to hear what the candidates stand for, not why they think their opponent is vulnerable.

When it comes to debates, talk is not cheap. It is necessary.

— The Register-Herald, Bleckley

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