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Iowa wasn't served by the gubernatorial debate formats this fall, which excluded the Libertarian candidates whose names will appear on every ballot.

The traditional top third-party option earned major party status in Iowa following the 2016 election. Then presidential candidate Gary Johnson earned 4 percent of the vote in the Hawkeye State.

Yet, this election cycle has been politics as usual.

Little was learned from the first two debates between Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democrat Fred Hubbell. The final debate was inconveniently scheduled for Sunday morning.

They didn't outline policies or proposals we haven't heard before. They didn't lob any new attacks. 

Neither candidate offered a memorial performance, and neither had an embarrassing gaffe.

What did either party gain with the snub?

As an increasing number of voters are looking for an alternative, the leading parties treated this election cycle like any other. That does little to foster confidence in our process and public officials.

If their ideas are good enough to lead Iowa for the next four years, they should be strong enough to be challenged and compared by leading opposition parties for 60 minutes in front of an audience.

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Voters deserved the chance to see the other major party in Iowa on stage this fall.

Come clean, candidates

The offensive and years-old email practices by Natasha Lewerke, candidate for Cerro Gordo County Treasurer, highlights a local lesson many in politics are learning.

The behavior expectations for public officials is rising, and there's no reason to believe that trend is changing.

Candidates, whether coming from the private or public sector, must recognize that those embarrassing skeletons in the closet are harder to hide today. Journalists, opponents and voters Jane and Joe will find out.

The tip and strategy that is rarely utilized would serve them well: acknowledge and explain past issues when announcing a candidacy.

Not doing that thwarts discussion about issues and solutions and, in some cases, derails campaigns.

At that point, the candidate can only blame him or herself.

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Local editorials represent the opinion of the Globe Gazette editorial board, which consists of Publisher Samuel Gett, Editor David Mayberry, News Editor Ashley Miller and Regional Editor Jim Cross. Contact the board or send letters to news@globegazette.com.

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