By Mike Kaszuba

Now it’s come to this:   Arguing over who’s responsible for a debate being cancelled.

St. Catherine University in St. Paul cancelled Wednesday’s gubernatorial debate after the school said only two of the three candidates agreed to attend. Maria Tzintzarova, an assistant political science professor at the school, said Republican Tom Emmer told organizers he could not attend the event because of a scheduling conflict.
Tzintzarova said that started a chain reaction. “The Mark Dayton campaign said that they would like to be involved in a three-way debate, not in a two-way one. So they did not want to participate at that point as well,” she said.
Emmer spokesman Carl Kuhl said it was “annoying” that Emmer was being blamed for the debate’s cancellation. “We’ve missed one debate that took place, and we were eviscerated in the press,” he said. “We’re doing over 30 debates.”
Kuhl accused the press of having a “double standard”, saying that when “Mark Dayton skips a debate. . .he just doesn’t come, [and] nobody cares.”
Dayton spokesperson Katharine Tinucci said Dayton was planning on attending the St. Kate’s debate. “We did confirm and we were planning on attending until they cancelled,” she said.
Tzintzarova said the “student-driven” debate was organized by the school’s political science club, and was geared to try to get students interested in Minnesota’s governor’s race. “We actually wanted the questions mostly to come from students, and we had given them actually the opportunity to either submit questions on Facebook or Twitter,” she said.