The third and final debate for the GOP candidates for the Virginia senate seat was held last night. The four candidates had their chance to make an impression on the voters of Northern Virginia. For early Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend there was a pretty good turnout. This was the smallest crowd of the four debates, but it was about 400 people.
The debate had a very simple format, 2 minute opening and closing statements with 90 seconds to answer questions. Each candidate was asked the same questions.
The cast of characters were
George Allen, former senator and governor.
Jaime Radtke, former employee of George Allen and Tea Party activist
Bob Marshall, state delegate
E.W. Jackson, former marine and minister.
George Allen has been pretty much given the nomination by all media outlets. Polling is being done between him and the dem candidate Tim Kaine. So it is looked at as an uphill battle for the other three candidates. Some have been surprised that Allen agreed to three debates. But Virginia has a large geographic area to cover and it would be hard to find one centrally located area to give all the voters a chance to hear the candidates. So the debates were divided up by regions of the commonwealth.
Allen's plan was do no harm. Which he accomplished. I don't think he did anything to help himself, but he certainly did nothing to hurt himself. Allen also lives in this area of the state and has strong support here. Most people I know are supporters* More on this later.
Jaime's plan was a full frontal attack on Allen. Which she did from opening statement on.
Both E.W. and Bob spoke from the heart. You could tell they were not using prepared remarks and canned answers.
Here are some of the notes that I jotted down while listening:
Virginia has to take the bull by the horns. Bowing to none.
If we don't deal with spending nothing else matters.
Made many references to Jefferson and abortion.
Started by thanking the soldiers who died. Talked about the legacy of freedom and America's comeback. He was trying to be Reaganesque.
Now Jaime talked about not allowing congress to pick winners and losers. Which I found very interesting indeed. Jaime backed Jeff Frederick for the State Senate last year. Jeff Frederick used(s) minority status to get set aside contracts from the federal government. So that is just hypocrisy of the highest order. You can read about that here.
One of the questions was meant to Perryesque and the candidates were asked which regulations they would try to do away with.
E.W. being a Bishop talked heavily on the regulations being put on the Churches forcing them to go against their consciences. He also brought up the federal real estate tax that is included in Obamacare that will be collected by the IRS. He got a good laugh when he talked about how 90 seconds was not enough time.
Jaime didn't really answer the question. She talked about Dodd/Frank and closing down the depart of ed. Which I agree with by the way, but it wasn't really the answer to the question at hand.
Bob pushed a flat tax and spent his time talking about car safety and flat tax.
George talked about Obamacare and CO2 regs. Which goes beyond cap-and-trade because of the all the power the EPA has taken for themselves.
I would have to say one of the most interesting parts of the evening was when Bob was talking about a conversation he had with Senator Mark Warner at a college football game about Obamacare. According to Bob, Senator Warner was not worried about the constitutionality of Obamacare, or "not his first concern". Great. We have a senator that doesn't care if laws are constitutional or not.
There were asked about what they would do about some reforms to the healthcare system they would like to see done if Obamacare is rendered unconstitutional.
I would have to say that George Allen did have the best answer on this. He was stressing HSA's. Which I am a huge fan of. I had one for years and it worked very well. HSA's were done in Indiana on the state level under Gov. Daniels and reduced costs for the state and the employees were very happy with them. It is also the type of plan that Whole Foods offered to its employees. They work. The rest didn't seem to have great answers to this question, but did stress federalism. Which I also am a big fan of. Healthcare reform should be done at the state level, not at the federal one.
I have decided that I am supporting EW. I made that decision long before last night. But last night only solidified my belief that I am doing the right thing. Hands down he won the debate. He had the room on their feet by the end of his closing statement. The only candidate that was able to accomplish that.
He also made some fans last night. Three people who I know went in being Allen supporters and left saying they would vote for EW. He is very impressive when you hear him speak. He has the ability to inspire you. His passion comes through. Matter of fact, a friend of mine and I went sign blitzing after the debate. We made sure that voters in Fairfax will be reminded of EW.
Even though I am no fan of Bob Marshall I would have to say he came in second. He had very good answers to most questions. He spoke of following the constitution.
I can't really say who finished last between Jaime and George. George was overly cautious and I heard one person say that he seem "tired". Not tired today, but in general. Jaime's answers seemed canned and forced. She stuck to talking points and you didn't see her, if you know what I mean. She had a game plan going in and followed it. I just question if that was the correct game plan.
I will tell you if George Allen doesn't get the nod, it will be national news. No one is really paying all the much attention to this primary. They may realize that they are making a mistake. But I have to say the grassroots is split, so it will more than likely mean it will be Allen. But I, and many other grassroots activists will be working hard over the next few weeks to show them not to take us for granted. We have minds of our own and we can be very convincing. This is race is far from over.
EW Jackson for Senate. He is good and honest man. We need more of them in Washington. Or should I say we need at least one of them there.