Campaign ads do not do much to really get to know a candidate anyway. They control the message and highlight all the best things about them or the things you most want to hear. The debates can poke at the soft underbelly of candidates and occasionally uncover some interesting things. The governor debates are coming up today (for the Democratic candidates) and Thursday (for Republican candidates) but the Lieutenant Governor debates were held last week.
Summing up to debates with five different candidates in a short article is difficult and the full debates are worth a watch but here’s just a hint. The Democrat debate was a relatively simple affair, with only two candidates who were relatively easy on one another as the debate on.
Sarah Riggs Amico, executive chairperson of Jack Cooper – the largest car haul company in North America, touted about her business experience as preparation for her campaign. “I am a first time candidate for office but I am in no way new to problem solving, to managing large and complex organizations or to bringing people from a variety of sides on an issue together to solve a problem. In fact, in my business that’s what I spend a majority of my time doing,” said Amico.
Triana Arnold James, in a rare move for a Democrat for office, started off the debate by discussing her desire for tax cuts, particularly for the middle class. “I would like to see taxes being cut, especially for the working middle class. The working middle class is suffering, paying high taxes as well as trying to take care of their families. Because at the end of the day, that’s what we want to do,” said James. “I do understand that we need to pay taxes.”
The Republican debate, in contrast, got feisty at times – close polls and a potentially tight race for making a runoff ramped up the tension in this one. The online audience seems to have not been as interested, as of this writing, the Republican debate on Facebook and YouTube had not crossed the 300 view threshold.
Geoff Duncan started out by talking about some of the challenges he sees in Georgia and how best to tackle them. “On its best day, a government program can only stabilize a situation,” said Duncan. He laid out the four C’s which he sees as the real solutions – churches, charities, corporations and citizens.
Rick Jeffares, who is fighting to make the runoff but may be lagging behind Duncan, spoke a little about his opposition to recreational marijuana, the cost of colleges and waded into arming teachers. He’s in favor of it but wants to make sure the teachers are trained, for instance if they have a concealed carry permit.
David Shafer was faced with a question right from the top about the now-dismissed sexual harassment allegations against him. Called “the center of the #MeToo movement” at the Gold Dome, Shafer didn’t blink. Rather than bristling at the question, he said he welcomed the movement but lamented that it was hijacked by some who were using it for political purposes.