There are winners and losers in every candidate forum, even though we try to put things more delicately than that sometimos. The bottom line is that some people do a better job in front of an audience than others. Some candidates are more qualified than others and some candidates are better able to articulate their argument than others.
Thats what happened last night. Here’s my take on the performance of the candidates, which may or may not be what my colleagues Greg Freyermuth and Hector H. Lopez think.
State Rep 78 Republicans – Dee Margo. Margo displayed a depth of the issues that was not shown from Diaz. Margo also demonstrated a full understanding of the political machinations to a degree that would put him on par with any member of the legislature. I don’t agree with his policy, but I measuring up the candidates side by side was pretty easy on this one.
Diaz displays a ton of good intentions and plenty of passion, but it doesn’t translate in to a strong understanding of the complexities of the issues.
State Rep 76 Democrats – Clearly State Representative Norma Chavez won. Her only opponent in attendance was Tony San Roman and quite honestly, he might as well not have been there. San Roman didn’t show confidence in his own candidacy. In fact I found myself wondering if he was even going to vote for himself. Bottom line is this: if you don’t demonstrate confidence in your own candidacy, how is anyone else supposed to?
Chavez simply ran on her record and understanding of the issues facing the district.
County Attorney – County Attorney Joan Bernal was the only candidate in attendance, though her opponent apparently attended another forum earlier in the day. Bernal had to face our questions alone for 30 minutes and handled the barrage rather well. Bernal dealt with the Coroner issue and demonstrated a thorough understanding of the inner workings of her office.
Caballero was not in attendance due to a fundraiser.
County Judge – There were two candidates that stood out in last night’s debate. Jaime O. Perez and Verónica Escobar. If you listen to candidates long enough they all start to sound the same after a while. So what I look for when I am sizing up a candidate is specificity. I didn’t see specificity from Sergio Coronado and Rick Ledesma. I was hoping to see that from Coronado because he has gotten the other candidates to come around to an idea he first articulated months ago, the need for efficiency enhancements in the county. But he came off long winded without specificity when it came to cuts.
To their credit, Perez and Escobar talked about specific cuts and stuck their necks out. It may be a hard pill for some to swallow, but at least they articulated a level of planning.
Ledesma doesn’t sound like a Democrat at all. I don’t have a problem with it if he’s a Republican, but he should be intellectually honest and say what his political beliefs are rather than try to pander and pretend to be a Democrat. He’s not doing a good job of it. In fact, he sounded like more of a Republican than the actual Republican.
His best bet for being on the ballot in the November general election would be for him to run unopposed on the Republican side.