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!