May 13, 2010

GOP's 13th Congressional Primary Debate

The one and only GOP debate prior to the primary election next week was held in Montgomeryville Wednesday night.  The event was hosted by the Philadelphia Tea Party Patriots as the challengers to Allyson Schwartz lined up to face each other and state their case for representing the party against the incumbent this fall.  Josh Quinter called for 6 debates with the two endorsed Republicans, Dee Adcock and Brian Haughton, before the May 18th contest.  He only got one, but took full advantage.

Quinter was predictably well-armed with solid arguments for most of the sometimes ridiculously-complicated questions from moderator Steve Highsmith.  The topics were seemingly convenient for the lawyer, lobbed right into Josh's wheelhouse.  His knowledge on issues such as the Georgian/Ukrainian oil pipeline effect on American on energy policy and the historical effect of the Monroe doctrine on American influence in the Western hemisphere forced this politically-interested commentator checking my Blackberry for facts on the subjects myself.  I doubt the average voter has knowledge of, let alone concern with, these obscure issues.  Still, Josh impressed.

Dee Adcock is the favorite in this race based primarily on his war chest and the endorsement of the Montgomery County GOP Committee which combine to give him a natural numbers advantage.  He's not a seasoned lawyer or politician - and he'll tell you that himself - but after months of practice and several town hall type events to polish his skills, Adcock seems a lot more comfortable in front of a crowd of politically saavy voters.  Last night Dee showed he's making progress.

Brian Haughton makes no bones about his lack of political acumen.  But what's refreshing is his acceptance of this fact.  When the Georgian/Ukrainian pipeline issue was raised, Haughton simply stated, "I'm not informed enough on the issue to give you an answer on that one".  The audience applauded Brian's honesty as though they realized the question came from the world of politically obscure issues few of them think about regularly.

All 3 candidates have their flaws.  Quinter still identifies with the lawyer crowd, sometimes talking down to the audience as he tries to impress them with his knowledge.  That will work in Blue Bell, but not in Mayfair.  Adcock must learn to trust his knowledge and speak more from his heart.  If he has any chance to be Schwartz, he needs to sharpen his responses and find the fire in his belly.  Haughton has the opposite problem from Quinter - his shtick works in Philly, but the suburban crowd needs to see him take this process more seriously.

While no official polling exists on this race (seen as safely in the D corner so no one is paying attention to it), Quinter seems to be surging at the right time.  But will he make enough of an impact to erase Adcock's natural advantage?  Doubtful. However, Haughton may be the primary beneficiary of Quinter's surge.  If Philadelphia republican voters turn out on Tuesday, Haughton's natural advantage there may be the key to the race.

Is there an upset in the making?  After all, it is a numbers game.

No comments: