My apologies for not blogging as soon as I got home last night…a bunch of hooligans forced me into going out to eat afterwards, so I didn’t get home until 11:30 (way too late for my blood). I’m barely conscious at that hour, so there was no chance I could have written anything coherent.

The debate was a success. I’m especially glad that some of the candidates gave me such fabulous material. That’s the fun part for me, you know…not the candidates with whom I agree 100%, but those who say things so inconsistent and/or ridiculous that it gives me a chance to look smart!

All six candidates showed up, much to our surprise, so it’ll take a couple of days to get everyone covered. But first, my general impressions:

Josh Arrowood is the same age as Ethan Flynn, but acted years older. He seems like such a nice guy, with what can only be described as “good old boy” values (my favorite kind!), but I don’t think he’s ready to go to Nashville. Maybe next time around, but not yet. He seems shy, a little shaky, and in need of some toughening up in the political world. I’ll be the first to admit that it takes time and the thickening of skin to be able to handle how rough the political life is, and I don’t think Josh is up for it yet. But again, I think with the right exposure over the next couple of years, he could be a viable candidate in the next race.

Ethan Flynn. Oh Ethan…
I have so much I could say, but I’ll try to be as nice as possible. Although Ethan has the least experience of any of the candidates (political and otherwise), he was the only one that struck me as a slimy politician. He watched the crowd to gauge what his answers should be and shamelessly name-dropped (if he only knew that those folks with whom he was so proud of talking merely support him because they think he’ll be their puppet). Ethan used biblical anecdotes which actually sounded less-than-genuine. Although Arrowood mentioned his faith as well and seemed quite genuine, it seemed that Ethan’s “Jesus stories” were scripted and blatantly intended to make him look like a “sweet Christian kid.” I’m not saying his faith is not genuine, but it certainly appears that he’s using Jesus for some perceived political gain. I was beyond unimpressed.

Dale Ford (bless his little heart) reminded me of a sweet little grandpa, so it’s hard for me to be too critical of him. But just wait until I reveal his answers. Ford is another candidate that seems like a nice enough guy, but that isn’t right for Nashville. How do I put this delicately? I’m not sure Ford has the “intellectual fortitude” to adequately represent the Sixth District (or any other district for that matter), despite the fact that he seems to have a lot of heart.

Patti Jarrett was the clear winner of the debate (I heard many mumblings to that effect in my conversations following). She was firm, intelligent, thorough, and nothing short of brilliant. She said the things that the others were afraid to say. Jarrett was the only conservative on that stage. Her win in August will show that the Republicans are not the moderates the national party thinks we are, and that we are about more than gay marriage and abortion.

Michael Malone was the “Peggy Barnett” of this debate (if you’ll recall, Barnett was the nice “nurse-lady” who didn’t seem to belong in the political world). Calls himself a “Regan Republican,” but his pet issue is, of course, health care – an arena in which the government has absolutely no business.

Lee Sowers is either a terrible public speaker, or just didn’t want to be there. He read both his opening and closing statements, and passed on nearly all the opportunities for rebuttal. This does not bode well for his ability to “fight it out” in the State House. He did, to give him credit, have some interesting insight into zoning, employment, and the economic health of the area, which shows that he had done his homework.

Stay tuned for each candidate’s answers to each of the four questions!