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Candidate Debate

March 11, 2010

The candidate debate sponsored by the The Constitutionalist Today was a great success. My lasting impression is that we are very fortunate this year to have a field of great candidates in this most important of election years. We will need to carry on and amplify the enthusiasm I saw last night on into November and beyond.

There were three contested races on the program: US senate, Colorado treasurer and governor, in that order.  The five senate candidates –Barton, Buck, Norton, Tidwell, and Wiens–went first and it made for quite a long session with each of them answering questions from each of the panel members.  There were a couple of light moments as when Ken Buck started answering a question by saying “I’m Steve Barton and I’m running for senator,” mimicking the line Steve had used to start each of his answers.  One of the panelists asked Jane Norton how she differed from Ken Buck and she quipped that it ought to be pretty obvious how she differed from all the other candidates on the stage.  There was, of course, a lot of substantive talk as well.  Ken Buck took the “texting” and paper  polls, followed by Jane Norton.

Treasurer candidates Ament and Hasan really livened things up as they sparred over how the state should be investing its funds and how bad (or not) the current allocation is. Ali had his ever-present giant spreadsheets and JJ talked to the issues emphasizing his investment experience. I found it very interesting that the current Democrat treasurer is not a financial expert but rather just another lawyer and that it has been 40 years since the treasurer has had a financial background. I guess that’s what happens when the people are not really paying attention to who is running for office.  JJ Ament took the straw polls.

Finally, gubernatorial candidates Dan Maes and Scott McInnis squared off.  Perhaps because of the treasurer’s debate this one was lively as well.  Both men answered the questions directly and then “yielded the floor,” not trying to run out the clock and squeeze in prepared talking points. There was an interesting contrast of styles between Maes and McInnis.  Each emphasized the kind of experience he brought to the table–Maes as a self-made business leader and McInnis as an experienced legislator. For me the key difference was their stands on taxing–and this year, who doesn’t think that’s a key issue? While McInnis has clearly opposed the Dirty Dozen and the car tax, he was reluctant to commit to repealing them, citing the budget shortfalls that would result.  I think that stand reflects his experience in crafting budgets as a legislator and his view of what is possible.  Maes on the other hand focused on cutting spending as well as reducing taxes. It seems to me that this is the right approach for 2010: the Democrats have advanced their tax-and-spend agenda so far that McInnis’ measured approach won’t be good enough.  It’s going to take some out of the box thinking to get Colorado back on track and I think Dan Maes is the one to do it.  The straw poll agreed.

Honestly, these debates were better than the presidential debates.  The panel asked whatever questions they wanted to and each candidate gave an answer to each question. Sometimes they went off on a tangent towards the question they wanted to answer but mostly they answered the questions they were asked.  Contested primaries are a good thing and great experience for the general election.  The Democrats don’t know what they’re missing.

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One Comment
  1. March 11, 2010 7:10 am

    I agree, it was a great evening. To the many citizens who came out to hear what these candidates are about first hand, thank you. To the Constitutionalist for going through the pain and stress of putting this on, thank you.

    November is a turning point in American history and the attendance and the passions on display at this event shows that many are ready to turn it in the right direction.

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