SUSAN INMAN: Mops floor with John Thurston.

Please, voters, tune in to AETN to watch the debate for secretary of state between Republican John Thurston, Democrat Susan Inman and Libertarian Chris Olson.

Both Olson and  Inman scored point after point, but Inman, with her superior knowledge of elections, cleaned the floor with Thurston.

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Thurston defends partisan control of legislative districting against her idea of independent commission as many states use and threw up the thoroughly refuted Republican talking point that Voter ID laws discourage voter fraud. Voter impersonation is virtually non-existent, study after study shows. Thurston scoffed at this,  suggesting it’s rampant but ignored by county clerks and prosecutors. Evidence? None.

The recent disclosure of Thurston’s waste of $30,00 on a boat rig used four times in four years and NOT used to address a legitimate complaint to his office about a sunken barge near Maumelle? It’s just a smear by a “liberal blogger” and political enemies, Thurston said. He doesn’t regret for a minute a purchase that was unnecessary that has so far cost $7,500 per outing.

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Inman backs a vote by mail plan, an idea enjoying success in other states. Thurston said we can’t trust the Postal Service. Inman’s response: The Postal Service handles military ballots. Is that untrustworthy, too? “He doesn’t know much about elections,” Inman commented. So true. And it’s only the most important part of the job.

That debate is to be broadcast at 9 p.m. tonight. Check it out. Thurston, who’s had a quiet tenure as land commissioner until the boat equipped for bass fishing came long, was off his game as a nice guy. He was overtly whiny and overtly partisan. That he’s on the defensive means he’s winning, he proclaimed.

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Inman knew her stuff. Olson, too, for that matter.

Thurston seemed confident of a Republican sweep in November. He may be right. But having watched the debate, it won’t be because of qualifications in the case of this particular office.

BTW: Olson was the most adamant about the non-existent evidence of a need for a Voter ID law. Inman also instructed Thurston on the various checks in place to prevent multiple voting, whether by design or accident.