Debate Sans Goodlatte

On Monday, I got a brief email from the local Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.  It told me that the candidates for the 6th district House of Representatives Seat were having a debate.  Being the political animal that I am, I made certain to be free during that time so that I could participate.  Here was my chance to listen to all three candidates for office and ask them about specific issues.  I thought that the notice was written rather strangely.  It read, “At 7:30 PM, Tuesday, the 26th, Stuart Bain, Libertarian candidate for Virginia’s 6th district will be debating his opponents in the Memorial Hall Auditorium at James Madison University.”  Although I know that Representative Goodlatte did not return the Tea Party’s candidate survey, it seemed a bit strange to me that they did not mention the sitting Congressman by name in the debate announcement, but rather used the term “Bain’s opponent”.  Therefore, shortly before the debate, I called Representative Goodlatte’s Harrisonburg office to make certain that he would be attending the event.  Unfortunately, I was informed that he was not going to be there.  Despite this considerable disappointment, I still showed up.

Vanke on the left, Bain on the right

Overall, I thought the debate itself went pretty well.  Both Jeff Vanke and Stuart Bain tackled a number of issues ranging from balancing the federal budget, immigration, and various disagreements they have with Congressman Goodlatte’s positions.  As one of many questions from the audience, I appreciated the opportunity to ask the candidates about their positions regarding the war on terrorism. Before I conclude, I want to thank JMU and acknowledge their efforts in hosting the event.  For more coverage on the specifics of the debate, you can visit both hburgnews and whsv.

As I’ve stated many times in the past, in order for our form of government to survive, we must have an informed electorate.  Toward that end, before you vote on Tuesday I encourage you to visit the websites of all three candidates to learn more about them.  As the debate was supposed to highlight, you can choose between the Republican Goodlatte, the Libertarian Bain, or the Independent Vanke.  You should vote, but you should vote smart.

4 Replies to “Debate Sans Goodlatte”

  1. Its actually nice to see a debate between two third party candidates where they don’t put up an empty podium to highlight the fact that their main opponent isn’t there…..usually these things just turn into “beat up tweedledee and tweedledum” (to borrow Ralph Nader’s personification of the two major parties).

    While I wish that the “majors” would accord third parties some respect (though I understand the usual tactical and strategic considerations), I certainly hope they had a nice exchange of ideas–from what I’ve gathered, these two candidates are pretty sharply opposed in ideological terms–Mr. Bain, of course, being a libertarian and Mr. Vanke being almost Federalist/Whigish (indeed, he is supposedly a candidate of the Modern Whig Party) in his support for the federal government’s powers.

  2. Unfortunately, Goodlatte refusing to attend any debates with his opponents stings a little to voters. I know for me it is an issue. He is an elected official and ignoring the political process by means of debate, etc is disrespectful to the entire thing. Goodlatte refuses to acknowledge his opponents which in turn makes the media. It is a sleazy tactic, and it says a lot about him.

    Although I was not able to attend the debate, I have been pleased with the amount of coverage these 3rd party candidates are getting in the northern part of the district. Bain and Vanke seem to be making every attempt to debate the incumbent and also in going ahead as planned without him. That is commendable. I wish them both luck and I look forward to voting for a fresh face in the 6th on November 2nd.

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