Kids, ask your parents.
It’s time to fire up the Colorado Pols Debate Diary once again.
It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. Yesterday in Grand Junction, Secretary of State candidates Joe Neguse (D) and Wayne Williams (R) took to the stage for the first SOS debate hosted by the Colorado Clerks Association. Colorado Pols was not in attendance at the debate (you wouldn’t drive to Grand Junction on a Monday, either), but thanks to the miracle of YouTube, we’re watching the video and providing a blow-by-blow rundown of the action.
*NOTE: Unlike a regular “live blog” Debate Diary, we're posting the most recent update at the bottom of the page, so you can read like a normal person. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.
We’re looking at the stage at the Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction. El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams is to the left of the screen, while CU Regent Joe Neguse is on the right. Maybe it’s just a weird camera angle, or maybe Williams is standing on a couple of phone books, but he looks absolutely ginormous. Williams looks like Godzilla preparing to destroy the convention center.
Our moderator is Gary Harmon from the Grand Junction Sentinel, who is sitting at his own table between the two candidates.
Let’s get right to the opening statements. Each candidate is allowed 3 minutes to start, which seems kind of excessive. If either candidate is able to coherently talk about the Secretary of State’s office for 3 consecutive minutes, we should just let them have the job.
Neguse is up first. He’s wearing a dark suit, with a white button-up shirt and a white t-shirt underneath. That’s a lot of layers, but maybe he just likes to be prepared.
“My name is Joe Neguse, and I’m running for Secretary of State for a pretty simple reason. I believe the right to vote is sacred.” Neguse talks about how his parents immigrated from East Africa.
And…we have our first Scott Gessler mention. Neguse criticizes the current SOS and makes sure to mention that Gessler has endorsed Williams.
[SIDE NOTE: Is there a lightbulb shortage on the West Slope? Neguse looks like he’s speaking from a dark alley, with half of his face shrouded in shadow.]
Neguse says that Williams is the only county clerk in the state who is NOT a member of the Colorado Clerks Association. That’s really strange – it will be interesting to see what Williams says about this. Why would the El Paso County Clerk not be a member of the Colorado Clerks Association? Is there a competing organization in which Williams is the sole member?
Neguse finishes up his opening statement with a story about doing bipartisan work as a CU Regent.
Now it’s time for Williams to speak. He’s wearing a brown jacket, a shirt of indeterminate color, and Max Headroom’s tie from 1984. He also has a “Wayne Williams” campaign sticker on his lapel, just in case.
“I had an interesting conversation in 2011 with my wife. I explained to Holly that I would not be at our house for her birthday.” Seriously, that’s the first thing he said.
Williams says that the Saguache County Commissioners scheduled a recall for January 24 (the same day as Holly Williams’ birthday) and asked him to run the recall election. So he sacrificed his wife’s birthday for the greater good of Saguache County, or something.
“I have been committed for many decades to working hard to ensure that everybody has the ability to vote.” Good work on the English, Wayne. Maybe he really IS Max Headroom.
Williams is now telling a story about serving on the Canvas Board in El Paso County for the first time in 1997. This is going to be a looonnggg 45 minutes.
Williams criticizes the 2000 election process in Florida, which resulted in a team of lawyers making sure that
Al Gore George W. Bush was elected President. Didn’t see that one coming.