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Down to the Wire: Dem Gubernatorial candidates meet at first (and only?) debate

I made the trip up to Fort Wayne yesterday to catch the Democratic gubernatorial debate. They had cookies afterward, so I can't exactly think of anything bad to say about the event itself, except to note that they only passed out 150 tickets to a venue that looked to hold over 300, which explains why so many of the reports this morning make note of the "half-full" crowd.

What was definitely full? Matt Tully's beard. Scandalous.

Lesley Stedman Weidenbener gives us the rundown on the night's activities:

Schellinger described his ideas about jobs at every turn, sometimes in answer to questions about the economy and sometimes on other topics. He proposed ideas to make health care more affordable, to provide jobs skills to adults and to create an office to provide services to small businesses.

"Indiana can and should be doing better," he said.

Thompson, who repeatedly reminded the audience that she never voted for a tax increase in Congress, said she would take a different approach to the economy, focusing on revamping the state's tax structure to attract and retain companies rather than creating programs.

She said Schellinger and Daniels have economic plans that are "very bureaucracy-oriented."

On the whole, Jill Long Thompson was on the hardcore attack the entire evening, accusing Schellinger of everything from campaign finance violations to actively working to raise property taxes to kicking puppies just because he can.

To his credit, at least in my book, Schellinger said he wanted to debate the issues, and tried to steer the conversation back toward the land of positivity, but I wonder how long that campaign will be able to play nice with the attacks coming fast and furious from his opponent.

I'm working on getting a copy of the thing for online public consumption, but for those of you who caught it last night, what did you think?

Posted by: Thomas


Schellinger is hardly the only architect responsible for designing expensive school buildings. Sure, part of the motivation may be the % of the cost, although that is typically not how architects are paid to design a project. Architects may be paid to administer a project (approve pay requests, inspect the work, respond to requests for information, settle disputes between contractor and owner, etc.) on a percentage basis, but usually it's a construction manager on a public projet that is getting paid as a percentage of the cost of the work.

Does anyone else think of "exciting as cold cream of wheat" when the issue of our demo candidates is brought up?

Here's the truth: It doesn't matter is Jim or JLT is the nominee if they continue to trail MMM with an 8-to-1 cash advantage. We could have Bobby Kennedy running and he couldn't beat MMM with that kind of cash advantage.

and ... you made up your mind a long time ago. You and I have had several run-ins about JLT and Jimbo, so don't act like the debate changed your mind. Since it wasn't broadcast on a statewide level and since American Idol was on Tuesday night as well, I'm guessing that the average primary voter in the FW market didn't even know that a debate occurred and the handful that stop by this website had their minds made up a long time ago. The primary will be decided by the demographics that turn out and how many races down the ticket new voters go.

"JLT wasted little time throwing the kitchen sink at Schellinger. What is the old political adage? When you are behind you scream for more debates and start attacking. Check both boxes for JLT.

Schellinger showed great restraint in not taking Jill's bait any number of times."

Schellinger built part of him empire on the backs of property tax payers. Instead of coming in and creating public building designs with function first in mind, he designed buildings which would costs millions of dollars more than they did. Why? He gets a % of construction costs. Why make a plain old square building on the cheap when you can stick it to taxpayers and get rich by drawing up a Taj Mahal?

Jim Schellinger: Bending over the average property tax payer, one county at a time!!

JLT wasted little time throwing the kitchen sink at Schellinger. What is the old political adage? When you are behind you scream for more debates and start attacking. Check both boxes for JLT.

Schellinger showed great restraint in not taking Jill's bait any number of times.

I'm not worried, Jill and her team have little experience putting together a winning campaign. She has the Z list (yes, A-Y were already taken) of staff. Pack it up Jill, you'll kill the party if you don't.

there is no way jill can win in november
she's bitchy and shrill, she has lost so many races, and her congressional record is mitch's dream
the woman is a nightmare candidate for dems
she is a divider who is funded by nothing but pro-choice money...almost as out of touch as mitch daniels himself
i saw the debate last night on the internet...she looked mean while jim looked gubernatorial
i've made up my mind!

I tried to watch the online stremed edition. It was spotty.

VNH, for the first time since I started watching these two in their separate appearances, news conferences, etc., I was not afraid of the fall. I thought both looked gubernatorial.

So much contrast to the incumbent.

But if I picked a winner, in terms of likability-experience for November voters, it'd be Jill, by a small margin.

Schellinger just doesn't impress me. I'm not angry at him, and would gladly support him if he wins in May. But he looks pretty meek and mild.

And his experience is, well, not exactly the kind I'd like to see.

JLT won't be afraid to stand up to Daniels. Shel sounded like he was too passive to attack Daniels's policies more vociferously.

MMM's ads talk about how he has balanced the state budget without raising taxes. Most state employees feel that he has balanced that budget by skinning them and gutting state services. Thousands of state employees are ready for a change, but they have no idea what either JLT's or Schellinger's ideas or plans are for state government. They would both do themselves a favor with a big block of potential voters if they take a few minutes to speak directly to the issue of what is the state's business and how it should be run. Vague references to "ending the 'outsourcing' of essential state services" just aren't going to cut it.

For those of you that saw the debate, I didn't think there was any question Jim Schellinger looked like a Governor and JLT looked like a little brat that didn't get invited to the overnight.

Is there such a thing as a positive attack?

Also, just because you label it as a negative attack doesn't mean it isn't true and worthy of discussion. Might as well have at it now because it's certainly going to come up later.

I'm not TDW, and I don't think that saying I was put-off by the negativity is an active endorsement of anyone. I'm just calling it as I saw it in the building last night.

Negative attacks work more often than they fail, in my opinion, so I'm not even saying it's bad strategy. I just would rather have not seen it.

What happen to TDW not taking a side in this one???

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