As the Daily Camera reported this weekend, the debate, sponsored by New Era Colorado, will be different from most such forums in both style and substance:
Candidates who run afoul of audience members' tastes will be routinely kicked off the stage based on audience votes. The audience will vote by periodically text messaging a number to debate organizers that corresponds to their favorite candidate, American Idol-style. The least popular candidates will be booted.
Joke-telling is on the agenda at the Meet the Candidates debate at 7 p.m. at the Fox Theater ... and [the debate] will include questions about medical marijuana, the annual Naked Pumpkin Run and alcohol-law enforcement.
The debates will no doubt be criticized as pandering and unserious by a bunch of people who never go to debates because they're super boring, but New Era deserves credit for mixing it up. While, yes, the text-message ousting is a little high-school talent-show-y, the joke-telling portion is a great way to get candidates to show off their personalities (should they have one) and the topics are -- perhaps sadly -- on the minds of a lot of people in town.