Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marrow - Landes Debate

Steve Landes and Greg Marrow, candidates for the 25th House of Delegates, squared off in their first "debate" of the fall campaign at Kate Collins Middle School in Waynesboro at 6:00 PM on Thursday night. Given that it was during the dinner hour and it didn't get an abundance of publicity except perhaps in The News Virginian, turnout was fairly good but not great. It was a fairly typical debate format with questions posed by a moderator and none allowed from the audience. Nevertheless, at least those in attendance, and the rest of us through local media (NBC29, TV3, The News Virginian, The Daily News-Record, and The News Leader), got to see the two men side-by-side and compare their answers, their demeanor, and take the measure of each.
I won't dig into specific questions and answers, but like many, I left there with some impressions that may be instructive as voters make up their minds.
First, both campaigns were well represented by signs, and greeters, and by approximately the same number of folks sporting stickers (well, Marrow may have narrowly won this straw poll). I bet the campaigns, more than the news media, are responsible for getting people there. Usually incumbents have organizational advantages, except perhaps Del. Landes has lost the touch since he's frequently had little serious opposition. Apparently the campaigns have about an equal amount of energy and organization, which could keep this brawl competitive through Election Day.
Second, Dr. Greg Marrow more than held his own on knowledge about the issues against Del. Steve Landes, who has been in the House 13 years. Such is often not the case as incumbents have experiences and resources from which to draw. I imagine this comes across as Dr. Marrow goes door-to-door and meets voters.
Third, Del. Landes is usually a mild mannered person... some might even say nice, but kind of boring. At the debate's end, in response to jabs about jobs from Dr. Marrow, Del. Landes proclaimed he was "POed" about the jobs issue which Dr. Marrow has been pressing for several months. Flashing "anger," Landes blasted Marrow for not knowing his record and made a show of handing Marrow a binder with the Landes record and biography. Whew! Two things came to mind as I watched and listened: (a) Landes feels a bit uneasy on the jobs issue and is going to great pains to justify his past actions (inactions?); he's even moved ever so slightly to talking about green jobs, and (b) his angry response appeared canned and artificial - was he coached to show he has a little fire in his belly?
So, no knockout in this one (as in most debates). Many in the audience probably thought their guy was better on the specifics of the issues. But from my roost looking behind the campaign's facades, the Marrow folks have good reason to cheer. They have a smart candidate who is up to speed on the issues with an energetic organization to deliver his message. And they can take heart in the feeling that's been expressed by some neutral observers: Del. Landes' heart is not 100% in the campaign. Or in serving? Landes seemed to verify that he came to the debate angling to dispel that perception, telling the DNR afterwards, "I think I made it clear that I have a passion to serve...." Hum, if ya gotta say it...?
Links to media coverage are below. Always interesting to compare them!


Progressive said...

I thought Greg more than held his own. It was wierd to see Steve so riled up, but many of these Repugs are so entitled and have gone unchallenged for so long it doesn't surprise me.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't there, but from the coverage it seems Landes is really struggling on the jobs issue and other than SRI has little to show for job creation after 7 terms.

Mary said...

Finally got a chance to watch most of it. The incumbent rode Giesen's coattail into office and just hasn't gotten much done about jobs for the area. Speaking of jobs, what's his at DCCU? From what I heard it was just a position sort of created to keep him busy between the sessions. I don't live in that district, but I hope voters will go for Marrow. Need some new leadership around here.

Anonymous said...

Marrow's performance was much better than Landes. Landes is starting to crumble under his record. When you have nothing to show for a record in the last 5 years, theres a problem and it needs to be fixed.

Landes will most likely start to attack Marrow. He is getting scared and will resort to anything.

Good job Greg Marrow, keep up the pressure, we need to get this delivery boy out of office with his little red folder.