Committee Stages ‘Chicken Debate’ to Urge 5th Congressional Debate

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Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The notion of "political theater" took a different sort of turn on Thursday when the Democratic challenger in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District debated pseudo-chickens. 

Three people dressed in bright yellow chicken suits served as stand-ins for Republican Doug Lamborn at a debate with his Democratic challenger, Irv Halter.  The move comes after Halter and others say Lamborn is refusing to debate.

Halter says he wasn’t involved in the stunt, and said he would have been surprised had the Congressman shown up.  But Halter said he appeared because he hoped Lamborn would as well.

Democratic challenger Irv Halter speaks at the "chicken debate."
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC
Democratic challenger Irv Halter speaks at the "chicken debate."

"I appreciate the humor," said Halter. "Humor’s important to life, but humor often points out more important issues.  And that is that it is vitally important that we in this community look beyond just the normal things, the normal partisanship, the normal party affiliations."

There was some content in the brief mock debate. When asked about his military career and what he would do to support the troops in the 5th District, Halter said it’s important to acknowledge the need to diversify the economy.  He added that he would look to take on a leadership role with Colorado’s Congressional delegation.

"I would organize them to work on behalf of these bases, the base at Buckley up in Denver, and our whole aerospace defense industry here, which is so big for this state, and I think they would work with me on that because what happens here isn’t just about Colorado Springs, it’s about the entire state of Colorado."

The debate was sponsored by a committee calling themselves Colorado Springs Citizens for a Congressman Who Won’t Chicken Out. Colorado Springs Independent publisher John Weiss has admitted involvement, but stressed it’s as a private citizen and that the committee consists of dozens of people.

Doug Lamborn
Credit Lamborn for Congress
Doug Lamborn

A call to Lamborn’s campaign was not immediately returned.  A Lamborn spokesman told the Independent earlier this week that a similar stunt at City Council in an effort to encourage Lamborn to debate is "proof of an uncivil campaign."


Lamborn Campaign Spokesman Jarred Rego provided this response in an email:

"Rather than denouncing this bottom-of-the-barrel stunt, Mr Halter spent time this evening talking with people dressed in chicken suits, after his campaign manager said he was, ‘looking forward to it.’ It should now be crystal clear to any undecided voter that Mr. Halter should not represent us in Washington. If he doesn't have the discipline to resist stunts like this, how can voters expect him to resist his Democrat colleagues Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi?"