WHNT News 19 Debate Doubleheader: What Is At Stake

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Near the end of August, valley voters will go to the polls in municipal elections.

A couple of the more high-profile races include mayoral positions in Madison and Huntsville.

Troy Trulock and Don Palmer are running to replace Paul Finley in Madison.

Mayor Tommy Battle is running for a second term in Huntsville.

Jackie Reed and Former Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer are also on the ballot.

All of those candidates, but one, will participate in our WHNT News 19 Mayoral Debate Double Header.

Loretta Spencer declined our invitation.

WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Dr. Jess Brown will be serving on the debate panel.

He says Spencer's decision not to take part will have a dramatic impact on her campaign, "Loretta Spencer not participating in this debate, in my view, is the equivalent of a campaign contribution to Mayor Battle."

Dr. Brown says four years ago, then-candidate Battle made the election a referendum on Spencer's record as mayor in this same debate.

He says, by choosing not to participate in this debate, Spencer gave up the opportunity to do the same.

Dr. Brown explains how important this opportunity is to the candidates, "More voters will see them than at any other campaign event they'll be involved in.  Just that simple.  This is their opportunity.  Really, this is the opportunity for all four candidates at the lecterns to really make a difference."

The debate should answer important questions about the Huntsville mayoral race.

Dr. Brown wonders, "Will Mayor Battle use the debate to effectively communicate the idea that he deserves another four years?"

Just feet away in the same studio, we could see a seismic shift in the race a town over.

Dr. Brown also asserts, "The debate can have frankly, I think, a greater impact on the Madison election, the Madison mayoral race than on the Huntsville mayoral race."

WHNT News 19 is teaming up with the Huntsville Times, Leadership Huntsville-Madison County, and the Committee of 100 to host the debate.

The debate is from 6:30 to 8pm on Tuesday, August 14th.