Tonight I’ll just be commenting on the debate in general, and over the next few days I will detail one candidate at a time, reporting on their answers and, of course, offering my opinions on their responses.

Present at tonight’s Congressional Debate for the Republican ticket were, in alphabetical order, Peggy Barnett, Colquitt Brackett, Vance Cheek, David Davis, Richard Roberts, Phil Roe, Dan Smith, Richard Venable, and Larry Waters.

I came in to the debate with my mind made up – I’ve supported David Davis since early in this election. However, I have to admit that Dan Smith gave some phenomenal responses. There were actually a few times that I wanted to get up and cheer. Smith kept the debate on track, pointing out when the “politicians” were avoiding the questions and talking about those things with which they were most comfortable. A Federal Prosecutor, it was clear that Smith is not only a great orator, but a brilliant mind with sound opinions.

Colquitt Brackett, on the other hand, insulted us all by claiming to be a Conservative, all the while saying things like, “we need to increase funding for No Child Left Behind” and talking incessantly about his support of the Equal Rights Amendment as it relates to the abortion debate. He even referenced “back alley” and “coat hanger” abortions, a standard liberal argument in favor of abortion, while saying that he is pro-life. Lest I forget, Brackett is also in favor of the Federal Government offering a “prize” to anyone who can invent a vehicle that can run on alternative fuels. Interesting, to be polite.

Those were the two candidates who left the strongest impressions, although Peggy Barnett did prove her research abilities with her more-than-adequate account of the FairTax (despite the fact that her other explanations were seriously lacking.)

If I had to declare a winner, it would be Dan Smith. He won over quite a few of the folks with whom I spoke with his no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point answers.

I’ll begin the detailed reporting of all the candidate’s responses tomorrow, beginning with Peggy Barnett.