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In Idaho, A Debate Like You've Never Seen Before

The four candidates for Idaho governor (left) at Wednesday's GOP gubernatorial debate. The debate was held at Idaho Public Television studios.
The four candidates for Idaho governor (left) at Wednesday's GOP gubernatorial debate. The debate was held at Idaho Public Television studios.

Wednesday's GOP gubernatorial primary debate in Idaho should carry a disclaimer: NOT a Saturday Night Live skit.

It was that amazing.

And it had nothing to do with the ongoing conflict between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment.

In fact, the sober-suited Gov. Butch Otter, running for a third term, and his Tea Party challenger, state Sen. Russ Fulcher, were largely relegated to serving as bemused bystanders as the proceedings were happily hijacked by two highly entertaining, long-shot candidates.

There was Walt Bayes, a full-bearded Santa Claus look-alike and abortion opponent, who's the father of 16, and Harley Brown, a leather-clad biker with a pocketful of cigars, a history of being slapped with restraining orders and, according to him, a direct line to God.

(The Almighty allegedly wanted Brown, who has a "master's in raising hell," to run for president.)

"I'm about as politically correct as your proverbial turd in a punch bowl," Brown explained.

As you watch the highlights here, give thanks to Otter, who made sure Bayes and Brown got their moment on the stage by insisting on their presence at the debate. We all owe the governor a debt of gratitude.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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