Friday, July 16, 2010

The Apollo School Republican 5th Congressional District Debate

Last night, seven of the 10 active candidates for the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District engaged in a debate at Apollo Middle School in Antioch. The debate was co-sponsored by Conservatives on the Move, The Tennessee ConserVOLiance, Tennessee Tax Revolt, the 9-12 Project Tennessee, the National Fiscal Conservative PAC, and the Davidson County Republican Party. Ken Marrero who blogs at Blue Collar Muse and is a conservative leader in Tennessee was the debate moderator. About 175 people attended the event.

Patrick Miranda and Tracy Tarum who had both missed the Davidson County Picnic were participants in this debate. Absent without an explanation was David Hall, who is running a campaign that must have as its campaign strategy avoiding places where active Republicans will hear your message. Hall missed this event and he also missed the picnic on Saturday. Also absent were Jarod Scott and Vijay Kumar.

The program moderator announced that Vijay had been in an auto accident and was in recovery and could not attend. Following my blog post on Saturday that mentioned Vijay’s absence from the July 10th DCRP picnic, Vijay called me and explained the same thing to me as his reason for missing that event. He said he had been rear-ended in an auto accident about two weeks before and had been in traction and would be out of commission for maybe two more weeks. Surprisingly, I saw Vijay at a meeting Monday night July 12 where there was presentation by a group called Americans for Peace & Tolerance. The meeting concerned the threat of radical Islam and was at the Hampton Inn on Crestmore Dr. I arrived late and left as soon as the event was over, and did not get a chance to speak to Vijay at that meeting. I am going to give Vijay the benefit of the doubt and assume he was too ill to attend the DCRP picnic, but recovered enough to attend the Monday event, but then had a relapse and was too ill to participate in the debate. I wish him a speedy recovery.

The debate was fast paced and enjoyable. A twist to this debate was that each candidate had a certain number of red flags they could throw to have the right of rebuttal of another speaker. Another twist was a Jeopardy-inspired use of white boards where all candidates answered the same question, writing their answer on the board and then revealing the answers at the same time. Ken did a great job moderating the debate.

Despite the enjoyable format and fast pace of the debate, it is still difficult to know who said what when seven people are debating. I recorded the event and took good notes, and may go back and quote some of the debate highlights. From memory however, here are debate highlights and observations.

Bob Ries spoke very loud into the microphone and was deafening. Bob also has a hearing impairment that kept him from adequately hearing the other contestants or the moderator.

Cece Heil and others, said they did not think it was an appropriate government function for FEMA to provide assistance during the recent Nashville flood. Bob Schwartz thought that was appropriate citing the Welfare clause of the constitution. Cece said Bob did not understand the welfare clause.

Bob Schwartz hammered Jeff Hartline on Jeff’s advocacy of an energy tax. Jeff explained that he was not advocating any additional amount of tax but that any additional tax revenue realized from any new additional sources of energy production be taxed at the same rate as current energy production and the revenue be used to reduce the deficit.

Lonnie Spivac advocated a procedural rule change in how congress conducts its business so that earmarks could not be tacked on to unrelated legislation. He credited Bob Ries for also advancing this idea.

Cece Heil said she opposed the Patriot Act but did support the use of harsh interrogation techniques.

Tracy Tarum was selected as the favorite of the candidates when asked who they would like to see win if they did not win the nomination.

If this debate was videocast and I find the link, I will update and post it. Also, there was an audience poll of which I anticipate learning the results. One feature of the debate was a pop quiz where the candidates were asked to list as many of the 18 enumerated powers of the federal government as they could. I admit I did not do well in trying to answer that question. I am curious how the candidates did. The answers are to be posted on the website Blue Collar Muse. When that is posted I will post the link.

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  1. Personally, I think Bob Schwartz won the debate, although I agree the number of candidates made it hard to tell what each of them were saying.

  2. Tracy's last name is "Tarum". Thanks for the interesting notes on the debate. I am really looking forward to the video, if one becomes available, and to the results of the pop quiz. I would love to see how our current representatives would do on that quiz!

  3. Actually, I thought that Lonnie was the one who won "Favorite Among Candidates" with 3 votes and Tarum had 2. I noticed that NO ONE voted for Mr. HArtline! I disagree with Robert Hinds about Schwartz "WINNING" the debate. I think he did well as did most of the candidates. The one thing that has not been mentioned was Mr. Hartline's little temper-tantrum with the Red Flag. Is that how Mr. Hartline will handle Mr. Cooper??? If so, Mr. Cooper will have a FIELD DAY with him!

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