The Alameda County GOP extended a warm welcome to the public recently when they organized the final round of debate between all political Party candidates in the race for Congressional District 10.
Elected Democratic representatives Buchanan, DeSaulnier and Garamendi skipped out on a final chance to share ideas with roughly 150 voters who took the time to attend the debate at Las Positas College in Livermore. Buchanan and DeSaulnier both dropped out two days before the scheduled event after originally giving the green light to volunteers. Garamendi never seemed interested in participating. Some of the Democrat Party faithful were disappointed with their top-tier candidates’ choice not to participate.
“I was shocked that Joan Buchanan was a no show for the only all Party debate, but it did give us a chance to take a look at other Democrats in the running” said Vickie Lancaster a registered Democrat from Concord that liked what Anthony Woods had to say.
David Harmer was the only Republican that failed to attend the debate which didn’t bother Rick Silva of Livermore, who expressed his support for Republican Chris Bunch and said his mind was already made up over a month ago.
Bill Gram-Reefer, editor of Halfway to Concord moderated the CD-10 All Party Debate and introduced the candidates to the audience. Questions were submitted by the public over Facebook and through an email address set up by volunteers weeks prior to the debate. A multi-partisan panel consisting of representatives from local county committees and community volunteer groups contributed questions as well. Voters in the audience were given the chance to get directly involved and weren’t shy about asking questions concerning election reform, the federal debt, the failed war on drugs and even food safety.
Democrats Adriel Hampton and Anthony Woods showcased progressive Democrat principles and showed a lot of class attending a debate sponsored by the opposing Party. Woods had numerous supporters that showed up with signs, campaign literature and enthusiasm. Hampton challenged Republican candidates during the debate and didn’t hesitate to call out Garamendi, linking the Lt. Governor to special interest lobbying groups.
Mary McIlroy a socialist from the Peace & Freedom Party surprised a few people when she said that she would support the Constitution and was against the bailouts. American Independent candidate Jerry Denham fired shots in all directions and took the opportunity to blast Buchanan, DeSaulnier, Garamendi and Harmer for dodging the voters right before the election by failing to show for the debate. This drew applause from the audience. Green Party candidate Jeremy Cloward shared his ideas about transitioning towards green technology and away from wasteful military spending.
All candidates agreed that auditing the Federal Reserve was a good idea, although Woods sounded like a politician when he stated that if H.R.1207 helped restore accountability and transparency in our government then he would support it.
Here at Halfway to Concord we approve of principled candidates that take clear stands on the issues! Dr. John Toth and Gary Clift didn’t beat around the bush and instead decided to take it one step further than the other pro-audit candidates promising they would fight to “abolish the Fed.” Sean Ackley, David Peterson’s representative added that he was in favor of the audit and wanted to see aggressive control over the audit itself. Ackley may have picked up some support for the Peterson campaign because he performed very well, garnering exclusive attention after the debate from several voters who were eager to ask questions about his responses.
Panel member Tom Kersten of the Hayward Democrats questioned the candidates on the topic of health care. Republicans mostly shared the same opinions on this subject. Chris Bunch wanted government to stay out of it while Clift, Loos, Peterson and Toth all agreed that the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in the health care department and that government run health care would only make problems worse.
Democrats Hampton and Woods wanted to see more government involvement and both candidates also supported single payer plans with a public option. Hampton defended government run health care insurance and related it to government run fire departments suggesting that the government was efficient in that regard. Denham would have nothing of it, siding with Republicans on the subject and McElroy considered health care a right for all Americans along with Cloward.
While responding to a question regarding the federal deficit, Republican Chris Bunch cited three specific causes, “big government, social security and entitlements.” Bunch does not see military spending as being a problem, pointing out that providing for the common defense is actually one of the proper roles of government.
Hampton was appreciative of a forum that allowed candidates to engage one another saying, “…some of my Republican running mates are acting like the government got us here when it’s actually the corporate rape of America through de-regulation that has created the problem.” Hampton expressed his dissatisfaction with the corporate bailouts. All of the candidates that mentioned the bailouts stood against them.
Republican Gary Clift offered up the idea of a income tax holiday for American workers to help stimulate individual economic well being and championed constitutional talking-points throughout the night. In response to a statement given by Scott from Livermore regarding the Republican tendency to resist big government, Clift said that he “was running to help get things done in Congress.” Clift explained that he was “just a regular joe who wants to help restore power to the state and local levels of government.” His comments received some nods of approval from audience members. Clift had numerous supporters at the event, too. They blanketed the parking lot and surrounding area with “Clift for Congress” signs and passed out information. Woods and Clift had the strongest show of support of all the candidates involved.
Joshua Daugherty of Alameda County asked a question about marijuana that lead most of the candidates to express libertarian leaning perspectives and anti war-on-drugs positions. Most of the Republicans said that drugs are a states rights’ issue. Hampton admitted to smoking pot years ago, but unlike Bill Clinton, Hampton did inhale.
After the debate concluded Chris Bunch said that “the all Party debate followed more of a debate format than any of the other forums held in the district.” Bunch said he had a good time and enjoyed the experience, as did Mark Loos.
The third Party candidates said that they felt good about being welcomed by the Alameda County GOP to an all Party event and were grateful to have a chance to share some of their thoughts and ideas with the voters as well. Adriel Hampton said that he was impressed with the event and was glad he came.
Halfway to Concord conducted a random poll asking participants who they thought won the debate. Four people thought Chris Bunch won. Three people thought Anthony Woods won. Loos, Clift and Hampton all received two votes each.
Don’t forget that today is special election day! Get down to your polling station and cast your vote! Polls open at 7:00 AM. If you need to locate your Alameda County local polling station click here
If you need to locate your Contra Costa County local polling station click here
Special thanks to all of the candidates that participated, the panel members along with their organizations, our moderator, Las Positas College, Lea Fargo Baked Goods, Livermore Valley Florist, the members of the public who attended and the volunteers that made it all happen.