Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Kilgore's Debate Policy

by F. T. Rea, 2005

That's right! Absolutely no televised debates with can't-win
candidates, or any candidate who makes sport, however
subtle, of my accent, my totally proud way of speaking.


Scott said...

Recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Ohio demonstrate value of IRV
Three significant statewide and congressional elections were won in June with more than 60% of voters supporting candidates other than the winner. On June 14, several key primaries in Virginia were decided by plurality ? most prominently, the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor with just 33% of the vote. In New Jersey, the hotly contested Republican contest for governor in the June 7th primary went to Doug Forrester, who won with 36% -- just 5% ahead of his nearest challenger and 14% short of a majority. Ohio held primaries on June 14th in a special election to fill its second congressional district. The Republican winner in this Republican-leaning district was Jean Schmidt, whose 31% of the vote edged her nearest opponent by barely 700 votes. Schmidt won what may well become a very safe seat for her with just 11,486 votes ? less than 3% of the districts 456,795 registered voters. Instant runoff voting would be the best way to assure winners in such elections at least had majority support.

[Read FairVote?s press release on Virginia?s primaries]

Scott said...

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Barnie Day
The Debate Debate

Jerry Kilgore is making a fatal mistake refusing to debate Russ Potts. Love him or hate him, Potts is a legitimate candidate, and it makes Kilgore look weak to avoid him.

Jerry Kilgore must have been absent from class that day. Or misheard the word. Or something. (It’s "underdog" Jerry, not overdog." People pull for the underdog.)

It will prove to have been a costly mistake. How costly? Try governorship-costly. Kilgore will agree to debate Russ Potts or forego a real shot at being elected the next governor of Virginia.

I, for one, think he will find a way to agree. Why is that? At this point, he simply has no choice. To continue to duck Potts will do Kilgore’s campaign far more damage than Potts could possibly do to him in any debate.

Virginia is a Republican state by about nine points—the Bush spread over Kerry was the perfect snapshot—and losing a third debate, or a fourth, or fifth to Kaine is not going to change that. In a two-man race, Kilgore should have that nine point head-start going in and coming out, no matter what happens.

But Potts complicates that, particularly where those nine points are concerned. Visualize all of Virginia’s voters standing in a horizontal line, ranked left to right, liberal to conservative. The hardcore liberals are on the left end of the line, the hardcore conservatives are on the right. The two ends are well defined.

Here’s the thing, though: The center of that line is a fuzzy. That’s where the moderates are. That center is also where the nine points are. You see, the nine point Republican advantage is not made up of hardcore conservatives. It is found more towards the fuzzy, moderate center.

Enter Russ Potts. Will Potts get a single vote from either the far left end or far right end of that line? No.

Where will his votes come from, where will Potts take votes out of that line? Congratulations. You just broke the code. The question now is not how many he will take out of the dead center, but how many of the nine points he will take.

If you can visualize Potts as Pac Man, starting at the center and gobbling the line up to the right, you will understand what the Kilgore advisers fear most—that he will quickly chomp up those nine points.

What are the implications of that? Get the chalkboard and I’ll draw you a picture.

There is perception in politics, and then there is substance. Perception matters most. Inexplicably, Kilgore has let himself get trapped into the perception that he is somehow afraid to debate the senator from Winchester. I doubt that is the real case at all. Tim Kaine is who he should fear in debate. Tim Kaine is a great debater, by most accounts By most accounts, the Democratic nominee has already clocked him twice.

Then why the duck on Potts? Two words: bad advice. Kilgore is getting bad advice from his handlers.

Dismissive of Potts from the beginning, they can’t seem to grasp the fact that the four-term Senator from Winchester is legitimate with a capital "L." He turned in more than 2000 signatures from each of Virginia’s congressional districts to get himself on the ballot. He’s picking up endorsements. He’s raising money. He’s talking about real issues. He’s doing all the things serious, legitimate candidates do. And he’s clamoring for admission to the debates.

Kilgore’s insistence that Potts be denied will prove to be a career-ender—for Kilgore. The Republican standard bearer has some of the best brains in the business working for him—they’re the best money can buy—but this blunder is one is going to be more expensive than anyone imagines. This one is going to cost Jerry Kilgore the governorship.

-- July 11, 2005

Scott said...


Where's the Instant Runoff Voting debate, folks?



Tuesday, June 28, 2005 :::

Debate Invitations, c. 2001

In light of the growing number of editorials, columnists, bloggers and assorted hanger-on who believe Russ Potts should take part in this year's gubernatorial debates, let's just take a look back at 2001, and how then-candidate Bill Redpath was treated. Remember, he was on the ballot, just like the Marks (Warner and Earley). But like Russ, his poll numbers were, well, anemic. From a press release:

September 5, 2001 - In a news conference at the State Capitol today, Bill Redpath, Libertarian Party candidate for governor expressed his disappointment that debate sponsors for Virginia's three gubernatorial debates have excluded him from participation. Redpath has been excluded from debates scheduled for Sept. 17 at George Mason University, Sept. 21 in Fairfax County and Oct. 7 in Roanoke. The Roanoke debate will be aired on statewide television...

"Good Lord, I think there ought to be some respect for candidates and their organizations that can step up and gather 20,000 signatures" to get on the ballot, Redpath said.

Guess not.

From the Center for Politics comes a write-up of a debate between the Marks. At the end, we read this:

The debate was sponsored by the University of Virginia Center for Governmental Studies and the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association, which did not invite Libertarian Party candidate William Redpath to participate. It was broadcast on stations across Virginia, including NewsChannel 8 last night. WRC-TV (Channel 4) in Washington plans to air it at 10 this morning.

Ouch. Seems the pressies weren't too concerned about including everyone, at least when "everyone" includes a candidate who's less "folksy."

And then, there's this from an online WaPo interview:

Herndon: Why do you think you weren't invited to the debates?

Bill Redpath: With respect to the October 3 debate in Richmond, it was Mark Earley who kept me out, pure and simple. It was OK with Bob Holsworth (VCU professor), who said the two major party candidates had to approve my participation. It was OK with Mark Warner. Mark Earley stopped it. And he wasn't even man enough to say "No" to my face when I asked him if I could participate. He said it was up to "the sponsors" and then dodged the question thereafter, refusing to give affirmative permission for me to participate.

I think it was the sponsors of the other three debates that kept me out. They pleaded (1) lack of time and (2) I'm not electable. But, how are enough people going to know about me and my ideas if they don't see me in the debates? I should have been in because my supporters and I were the only group to gather the signatures necessary to put another governor candidate on the ballot, and because politics is about more than a horse race--it's about ideas.

Hmmm. Seems like Kilgore may just be keeping up with GOP tradition by giving Russ the big "No." But as for the organizers...their excuses haven't changed much either, now, have they?

kathy said...

"totally proud way of speaking"