Last night eight of the nine major party candidates vying for the spot that Pete Hoekstra is vacating at year’s end met for a forum at East High School’s DeWitt Auditorium. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Holland Area, the aspirants answered a variety of questions before a crowd of around 150. Missing was Zeeland native and congressional hopeful Jay Riemersma due to what his camp called a "scheduling conflict". My question is this, do you think his absence helped or hurt his campaign? How important ARE debates in helping you make your decision?