On June 17th, Father’s Day, YNN held an hour-long debate between the three Republican candidates vying for the chance to face incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the November elections this year. The debate is important for several reasons, most critical is the fact that New York residents were denied the opportunity to have a choice in the selection of Sen. Gillibrand in 2009. She was neither the Democrat candidate nor elected to office and there has been little opportunity for NY residents to hear Sen. Gillibrand explain her positions and flip-flops. Thus the debate is the first step in providing NYer’s a choice in November.
The debate featured candidates Attorney Wendy Long, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos and Congressman Bob Turner (of the now defunct NY-9).
The YNN debate was without any real fireworks, until the last few minutes of the debate. Sadly this is where the debate was ended, before a clear distinction could be made between the positions of Rep. Turner and attorney Long on 2nd Amendment legislation. Still there were decisive answers that defined the differences between Sen. Gillibrand and the Republican candidates.
It should be noted that while the majority of the YNN debate was focused on Federal and National issues, there was a portion of the debate that focused on items that clearly were without merit for a Senator representing the State of New York. Questions on gay marriage and the possibility of repeal of the law, hydrofracking and its effect on the New York economy as well as environmental concers, were 2 issues that have no place in a race for Senator. Regardless of the positions held by any candidate or incumbent, a Senator has no power over and should have no influence on internal State matters. The discussion of such only serves to introduce emotion and personal biases of voters into an election that will do nothing to address the issue itself.
Separate of this distraction, several of the key issues of the day were brought up. Immigration was first and foremost. Healthcare, and the Obamacare ruling by the Supreme Court, were also featured in the debate. Selection of future Supreme Court Justices was another issue. As stated above the 2nd Amendment was the issue that was being discussed last in the debate.
Our overall conclusion, based on taking a position solely on the performance in the debate like many voters do, would be that Rep. Bob Turner was the most impressive of the candidates. His presentation was generally direct, answering most of the questions with a completeness and avoiding any vaguaries in the answer. He seemed the most decisive and self-assured.
Attorney Wendy Long was a close rival to Rep. Turner. While not as polished, there was no question as to her passion on issues like the economy, taxes, and healthcare. At the same time, certain answers indicated that Long as Senator would not help to alleviate the partisan gridlock that has made the current Congress a vast wasteland of ineffective finger-pointers. That is unless Republicans were to gain control of both the House and Senate, and slant to a far more fiscally conservative and strict interpretation of the Constitution.
Comptroller Maragos fared the worst of the candidates. His presence was without impact and his answers felt less than resolute. This is not to say that Comptroller Maragos is not qualified or credible. Rather, his answers did not inspire confidence and left the impression on that in the face of the huge Democrat warchest and decisive Liberal advantage provided by the City of New York he could not overcome Sen. Gillibrand in an election.
Of the items in the debate that deserved to have follow-up and did not receive it, when asked in a lightning round question (only yes or no answers) if, upon learning that a gardeners in his employ was an illegal alien, Rep. Turner turn that person into ICE. The answer was an weak, extended probably… followed by a far quieter and even less demonstrative NOT.
The problem with this answer is it is the kind of answer that New York voters have learned is part-and-parcel to Senator Gillibrand. In her flip-flop on immigration policy from her time as a Representative in Congress to becoming appointed Senator, she has presented the same kind of feeble reasoning and stance. Given is the fact that her change in position was followed by generous donations and political support from Liberal pro-illegal immigration supporters, and enhanced her position as a Yes-woman to Sen. Schumer and the Democrat Party. But Rep. Turner will not gain those same benefits, and New York voters deserve a definitive answer as to his position held on this issue and how willing Rep. Turner is to see enforcement of the law as it stands.
Equally, attorney Long needs to clarify what items she will take a partisan ideology stance on, and define in detail those principles she feels cannot be negotiated on to any degree. Further she needs to be clear if that ideology inflexibility applies to Republican efforts to negotiate forward progress on national issues as well as initiatives offered by other less conservative Republicans in the House and Senate (potentially even President).
This is our take-away from the New York Republican Senatorial debate. You may feel differently. We recommend that you see the debate in its entirety on YNN:
Republican US Senate Candidates Debate
We also recommend that you review the candidates:
M V Consulting, Inc does NOT advocate any candidate or incumbent in any local, State, or national election. We seek to provide the broadest coverage and information on each candidate and incumbent so that voters may make an informed decision on how they want to vote – whatever that vote may be.
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