The Nixon Foundation is hosting a gubernatorial debate for the Republican candidates running against Gavin Newsom in the Recall election on September 14. This is excellent news, especially for political junkies like me who want to hear the candidates get into the heart of why they think they are the one for the job, and how well they dig into the policy and minutaie of actual governance. Debates are where you see how the candidates perform under pressure, on their feet, and when challenged on their positions. You also see how well they can respond off the cuff, as opposed to prepared stump speeches and statements.
From the Nixon Foundation press release:
Candidates competing to replace Gavin Newsom as Governor of California will face off in a televised debate at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda on August 4, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
John Cox, Kevin Faulconer, Kevin Kiley and Doug Ose will take the stage in a debate that will be broadcast live by Fox 11 Los Angeles.
Hugh Hewitt, president of the Richard Nixon Foundation, will moderate the debate along with panelists Christine Devine and Elex Michaelson of Fox 11 News and former U.S. National Security Adviser Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien.
Governor Gavin Newsom was invited to participate but did not respond to the invitation. Candidate Caitlyn Jenner was invited to participate but is unable to attend due to a prior commitment. Candidate Larry Elder’s campaign cleared the date but subsequently identified a conflict. The invitation to all three remains open and organizers are hopeful one or more will make the debate which is being aired on Fox 11 Los Angeles, KTVU Fox 2 San Francisco, other Fox TV affiliates statewide, and on the Salem Radio Network and other radio stations.
The Nixon Foundation is holding spots for Newsom, Jenner, and Elder if any of those candidates decide to participate.
Newsom is a coward, and his many press conferences reflect that he is neither able to answer anything that hasn’t been prepared beforehand, as well as he cannot think on his feet.
Jenner is merely floating on the name recognition; it’s obvious he/she has no interest in actually campaigning for the job. I have no idea when Jenner chose to compete in Big Brother Australia, but he/she might have given thought to the fact that this would be a significant interruption should they decide to run for governor of the State.
Elder is a disappointment, especially since he prides himself on being able to debate, and it is part of his radio host persona. This appears to be another candidate who is choosing to float on their name recognition, and using it as an excuse to avoid actually campaigning. Hey, it worked for Gavin Newsom in 2018, so why not?
As I have written before, Elder has canceled on more than one event that involved grassroots conservatives and Recall organizers, then turned around and appeared at events that have monied donors or heavy media coverage. This is not a good look, and observant people are watching. What this also reflects is either a lack of consideration or a lack of readiness for the job at hand. When you cannot clear your schedule to do a 3-4 hour debate to present your case to the citizens of California, what does that say about your priorities? Should he become governor, will this filter over to decisions concerning the state? It’s a legitimate question.
Orrin Heatlie, who is involved in the Kevin Kiley for Governor campaign, wrote this on his Facebook page about the importance of debates, no matter what the office:
This is my personal opinion as a private citizen, which I am entitled to!
I was extremely disappointed when President Biden refused to debate during the presidential campaign! This earned him the nickname; (Hidden Biden)
I don’t care what position someone is running for! Whether it’s the local Rio Linda Water Board, County Sheriff, Senate, State Governor or The US president, when I hear a candidate of any race has refused to debate, I become suspicious of that person and start to wonder what is it they are trying to avoid!
Obviously it’s a strategic decision they feel will benefit their campaign one way or another.
But, does it benefit us?
I have to ask myself, what is it they are trying to avoid? They are the only ones who could answer that.
But, would I trust what they tell me?
With Biden, we see now what we’ve suspected all along!
Debate and public forums are very important to help the public make an informed decision. It show us a lot about the candidate’s character. It shows us how they operate under pressure. Can they think on their toes or do they need their lines scripted? Do they keep their composure and present a viable solution or do they cave under pressure? How do they represent themselves and would we vote for them to represent us? It’s a high stakes interview or audition of sorts.
August 4th there is a televised forum, each of the top candidates have been invited to participate!
I believe this will be a critical hinging point in the special election! I recommend everyone tune in with an open mind, listen to each candidate as they present their case and make well informed decision as to who you trust to be the next Governor of California!
I am with Heatlie. Think about the presidential debates both in 2016 and 2020. It brought to the forefront who actually knew what they were about, and who just thought it was a good idea to try and run for president. Despite who ultimately won, certain candidates distinguished themselves: In 2016, it was Donald J. Trump, who became the Republican nominee and ultimately president. In 2020, it was HI Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who spoke truth to power, and leveled then-Senator, now Vice President Kamala Harris, exposing Harris for the lightweight and fraud that she is.
As Heatlie so wisely said, debates may not benefit the candidate, but they sure benefit the citizens who are trying to make a decision on who to vote for. Debates rarely make or break a candidate, especially in this highly polarized and politicized world we now dwell in. However, it does reveal a candidate, how prepared they are, where they truly stand, and are they who they say they are. As we saw from 2020, people are going to vote how they are going to vote, but it is essential that they go into any decision with as much information and clarity as possible.
Debates help facilitate this.
We have some candidates who have great name recognition but appear to have little else, and other candidates who have great substance and policy expertise, but less name recognition. A debate allows the better-known candidates to prove their substance (or reinforce their lack of it), and gives the lesser-known candidates a platform that can reach more California citizens. Finally, it is an opportunity for the citizen to see all the candidates in a new and different light.
The Nixon Foundation plans to have another debate the week of August 23, and the press release said it has invited the same candidates to debate. We will see if Jenner, Elder and maybe even Newsom prove my assessments wrong.
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