FSU to Host Debate

Local readers might be interested in knowing that Fayetteville State University will play host to a debate between the Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor here in North Carolina. The debate will be held Thursday, January 24, at 7 PM in Shaw Auditorium and is free and open to the public. And apparently there will be some time for questions from the audience.

Update: I stuck it out for about half the debate on Thursday night and took some notes, but because I’m still learning the recent political history of North Carolina, I’m not as prepared to place the debate in context. That being said, my impressions of the candidates were similar to those of Gordon Smith at Blue NC in his summary of the Asheville debate a few days earlier. I was impressed with Dan Besse’s emphasis on environmental stewardship and on social and economic issues. Both Walter Dalton and Hampton Dellinger seemed to stake out positions relatively consistent with the Easley/Perdue status quo, and like Smith, I found the dynamic between Dalton and Dellinger a bit frustrating. Dellinger is clearly an ambitious guy–not a bad thing in a politician–but his attempts to turn the contest into a two person race were not only too transparent but also a bit clumsy. The fourth candidate, Canton, NC, mayor Pat Smathers seemed to have quite a number of good ideas but tended to fade into teh background a bit during the debate.

Significantly, Dan Besse seemed to respond directly to one of the complaints cited in the Blue in NC blog, that none of the candidates had addressed the state’s “mental health crisis.” Because I was unaware of the context of the issue, I didn’t pay a lot of attention, but it’s clear that Besse (or someone in his campaign) has been paying attention to the discussion of the first debate, which is the way things ought to work. I’d been on campus for about twelve hours by the time the second half of the debate started, so I couldn’t stick it out until the end, but kudos to the North Carolina Foundation of College Democrats for putting together and supporting these very informative debates.

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