Last night, the Colorado Springs Women’s Republican Club sponsored a candidate forum for 5th Congressional District Candidates. General Bentley Rayburn and Jeff Crank attended.
Much like my recent post about the county assembly, I would like to offer some general information followed by what I view as the winners and losers of the debate/forum.
The forum was held in a smaller sized room in the basement of the Colorado Springs City Hall building. The Women’s Republican club ran their meeting efficiently and got to the forum rather quickly. There was a fair amount of people there; club members, people visiting as prospects to join, and some supporters of General Rayburn. We had time for about half a dozen questions, with Gen. Rayburn and Mr. Crank taking turns answering the questions.
After about an hour, another group arrived to use the room and the debate ended rather abruptly without Gen. Rayburn not being able to answer one of the questions. But when a police officer says “you have one minute to vacate the room”, everyone tends to listen….
On to the winners and losers!
Jeff Crank: Answers were concise and knowledgeable. Mr. Crank is a good speaker, and the crowd seemed relatively friendly. Mr. Crank didn’t score any knockout punches, but he really didn’t need to. He re-enforced his conservative credentials to the crowd, which was probably the most important goal of the night.
General Bentley Rayburn: This was my first time seeing Gen. Rayburn speak in person, and I have to say he did a good job. His answers weren’t as detailed as Mr. Crank’s, but he gave my favorite line of the night. While talking about alternative energy, Gen. Rayburn said “We need to let the private sector develop the technology. When we leave it to the government, we get corn fuel.” Overall Gen. Rayburn was able to interject some humor into his answers, which is no easy task to accomplish when talking about dry subjects. He did a good job.
Colorado Springs Women’s Republican Club: Good turn out, candidate’s attention; a structured forum that went off without too much of a hitch equals some good bragging rights.
Strict time limits: We were in and out in about an hour and a half. Granted, a large part of that had to do with the cop telling everyone to “get out” depriving Gen. Rayburn of an opportunity to answer the last question, but even he didn’t seem to mind too much. Debates are nice, but being able to do something afterwards is really nice!
Doug Lamborn: Generally speaking, an incumbent that refuses to debate challengers isn’t something to take note of. But Congressman Lamborn doesn’t have the luxury of taking the typical incumbent track to re-election. One thing that last night reinforced is that both Jeff Crank and Bentley Rayburn are credible challengers, so avoiding them is coming across as weakness on the part of Congressman Lamborn. Aside from that, both Gen. Rayburn and Mr. Crank took multiple shots at Congressman Lamborn last night, and no one was there to answer on his behalf. Ouch.
Follow Up Questions: There were a couple times last night when it would have been nice to ask a clarifying question regarding some answers. But the structure of the forum nor the moderator had much wiggle room for that kind of flexibility. Maybe next time.
The Departments of Education and Commerce and the IRS: When asked which programs they would eliminate and why, both lists were pretty much the same: the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, and the IRS. Whether you like these departments or not, they certainly got no love from that crowd last night.