Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Debate Debate Rolls On.

Another story by C Jenkins today in the Post. Now this is my feeling on the issue. Sure Potts probably will not win. In fact I bet Sen Potts doesn't pull over 15% in the General Election. But, he has just as much of a right as anyone else to debate the other candidates for Governor. Through the hard work(and possibly dollars) of his campaign and supporters he turned in 150% more signatures then he was required in order to get on the ballot. I am sorry, if your name is going to appear on the ballot then the people have a right to hear what you have to say. Jerry Kilgore needs to develop a little bit of a backbone here. He would easily trounce Potts in a debate and quickly show the people that Russ is in this just to get his 15 minutes of fame before we primary him out in 2007(if he has the backbone to go again). So Jerry.... Debate Tim and Russ, beat Tim and Russ, and let's party in Williamsburg next January after you are inaugurated as Governor.


At 6/18/2005 03:27:00 PM, Anonymous marty nohe said...

To me, the highlight of the 1994 senate race was the debate between Ollie North, Chuck Robb, Doug Wilder and Marshall Coleman. Of the four, Wilder was probably the best debater (style... not substance), but I contend that Ollie was the big winner because he showed a tremendous amount of class in his dealings with Coleman. He didn't keep Coleman out of the debate. He didn't disrespect him. He debated him and allowed their relative records and platforms to be judged by the voters. It illustrated his honor and demonstrated that he was the better candidate as well. I think it won him some votes, though tragically, not enough of them to beat Robb.

The BIG BIG BIG difference here is that Potts has not demonstrated the same credibility that Coleman or Wilder did. At this point, the Potts campaign is sort of a side show act and Jerry would just give Potts free press by debating him. In the unlikely event however, that Potts starts to garner some perceived legitmacy, I think Kilgore would be well served to debate Potts. Maybe not ten times, but at least once. It might be just the thing to make Potts slink away into obscurity.

At 6/18/2005 04:31:00 PM, Blogger MR JMS said...

While I would agree with you that Potts has to develop some legitimate message to make us think this is not a dog and pony show. But Potts is on the ballot and had to do the exact same things as Kilgore and Kaine to get there. As of now he has just as much of a right to be at the podium as anyone else.

At 6/19/2005 11:16:00 AM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...

Sorry, Marty, I've got to go with MR JMS on this one. The fact that Potts did everything required to get on the ballot gives him the credibility as a candidate to have a place in the deabtes. He can't win the election, of course. And the more he talks, the more he does to weaken that credibility.

Kilogre is much better served by tackling Potts' candidacy head-on now as opposed to allowing this issue to gain steam. The more he attempts to marginalize Potts, the more some voters (albeit a small number) will start to wonder what Kilgore has to hide or any number of other questions about his motives. Potts is colorful enough that he will get plenty of press either way. But if this press specifically puts Kilgore in a negative light, he needs to put an end to it. He can do that by accepting the Potts challenge and beating him in a debate. The earlier he can convince voters that it is strictly a two-man race and not three, the better off he'll be. If Potts is allowed to hang on until the fall, he then becomes a potential spoiler.

At 6/20/2005 11:35:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

Picked this up as anonymous comment (buyer beware) over at Bacon's Rebellion, but it makes the point as succinctly as anything, assuming its accuracy.

"William Redpath.
Sue Harris DeBauche.
Nancy Spannaus.

What do all these people have in common?

All candidates for Governor (in 2001, 1997 & 1993, respectively), all on the ballot, and none were included in debates. With this kind of record, you could almost call it a Virginia tradition that gubernatorial debates be limited to the two major party candidates."

Russ Potts is a flake. A despicable flake. Problem for the owners of this website seems to be, he's your kind of flake (he likes higher taxes and bigger government), which engenders some sympathy. Even Marty could figure this one out (BTW, the debate to which he refers was hosted at Hampden-Sydney College by my good friend, Gen. Sam Wilson).

Getting on the ballot doesn't demonstrate credibility. If what happened in '94 is any indication, the measure of credibility is getting elected to statewide office previously (Kaine and Kilgore both qualify; Potts doesn't) or meeting some minimal standard in public opinion polls (again, Kaine and Kilgore both qualify; Potts doesn't).

And BTW, mr jms, Potts didn't have "to do the exact same things as Kilgore and Kaine to get there." He got signatures on petitions. Kaine and Kilgore went before (or were willing to go before) voters in their respective Party's primaries. That puts him on the ballot. It doesn't put him on the podium.

At 6/20/2005 12:12:00 PM, Anonymous marty nohe said...

"Even Marty could figure this one out."

Thanks Jim. That's probably the nicest thing you've ever sid about me. ;-)

At 6/20/2005 12:52:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

Marty, I give credit where credit is due, even when (perhaps especially when) it might contradict my widely-known opinions.

At 6/20/2005 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...


You're right, Potts is a flake. I don't consider him to be a legitimate candidate in terms of being able to actually win or be a decent Governor. I just don't agree with excluding him from the debates. I think that Kilgore gets much more mileage out of debating him and putting him in his place than by refusing him and allowing some folks to read the wrong message into it.

At 6/20/2005 03:57:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...


So, would you put Redpath/DeBauche/Spannaus up there, too? I'm honestly not sure why you believe this, but I'm very much trying to identify the principle at work here.

Is it simply because you think it would help Kilgore? If so, isn't the Kilgore campaign best suited to making that determination? And if so, then you're position is one which is a simple disagreement over strategy, one which I think the campaign is best in a position to make.

At 6/20/2005 04:51:00 PM, Blogger Mitch Cumstein said...


I don't recall to what extent those individuals fought to be included in the debates. But, if they did, then I think they should have been permitted to participate. For me, more information is always better than less.

As far as Kilgore goes, I do believe it would help him to put the Potts issue to bed. I'm sure I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, to question the decisions made by a campaign, irrespective of their experience and knowledge of the lay of the land. Maybe they know what they're doing. I suspect in most cases they do. I'm just not comfortable with not hitting this "challenge" head on. To those who wish to believe Kilgore is ducking, it's added fuel for the fire.

At 6/20/2005 05:13:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

Fair 'nuff on the other individuals. At least you're consistent. I don't recall whether they fought to be included in the debates. Even if they did (it's hard to believe that they wouldn't have, mostly because they were even more marginal than Potts), they didn't have Potts' profile to promote their positions.

Simply gotta disagree on the second point. On the other hand, with some time between now and Labor Day, circumstances may change to justify re-thinking the campaign's current position.


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