I’m sure the papers and pundits will have their chance to dissect the debate Thursday night between the candidates for the 4th Congressional district, Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and her challenger Betsy Markey, but figured I’d throw in my two cents here. The video of this debate can be found at http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=101504&catid=339
Prior to this debate, I’ve met and spoke to Betsy Markey where she gave a speech to our organization, and of course the recent candidate forum here in Longmont last week (as mentioned in my recent podcast). I’ve never met Marilyn Musgrave, and have never seen her speak more than a sentence, usually during a news broadcast. I haven’t followed her career nearly as much as some others around town, who do it quite often in an obsessive manner. So in many ways, this debate was an introduction to Ms. Musgrave for me.
From what I’d previously read and heard about Ms. Musgrave, she didn’t appear to really set the world on fire, in and out of her own party. Ms. Markey seemed to me a friendly person, but I was never quite sure of her accomplishments and got the impression she was just running as the typical Democrat going for the anti-Republican or anti-Musgrave vote but not a lot behind her. After the Longmont event and this debate, I did get a little more feel for her experience, especially in relation to her small business.
But what struck me about this debate and her previous comments was that Ms. Markey doesn’t really speak to the specifics of this district. Most of her comments were the same generic Democratic talking points that you can hear from any candidate in any state or district. Ms. Musgrave by comparison often brought up her own experience in Washington and how it relates to people and cities within the district she represents.
A couple of points on this debate: Ms. Musgrave was on the attack and her shots appeared to hit more effectively than Ms. Markey’s. She brought up a YouTube video of Ms. Markey saying “You say drill. I say no. Debate’s over” to oil drilling, which brings up a question of when it really happened (during the DNC?), and who filmed and uploaded it (friend of Markey’s or Musgrave’s?), there were two versions of that story.
The other shot Ms. Musgrave took was this “women owned business” issue that her representative leveled at Ms. Markey at the Longmont event. Ms. Markey skated around this again and tried to be a little too fine with her comment that her company never sought contracts as a woman owned business, but Ms. Musgrave provided quotes from Ms. Markey and information on her companies website that are clearly contradictory on this subject. We probably haven’t heard the last of this issue.
Ms. Markey tried to hit Ms. Musgrave on money she’s taken from Wall Street bankers. But this backfired when Ms. Musgrave pointed out that those contributions were from small community banks and credit unions.
In summary, Ms. Musgrave showed much more knowledge of who she’s working for, which is probably why the Denver Post, of all newspapers, recently endorsed her. Personally, I was surprised at the strength of her performance and easy familiarity with the issues and her district.
Perhaps it was nerves and first time on a stage like this, but Ms. Markey was not nearly at ease and fell back on the obvious, stuff we’ve already heard and already know. While Ms. Markey may have a bright future in politics, voters should be considering knowledge and experience. In this race, there’s really no comparison. Can’t believe I’m about to agree with the Denver Post (thanks, by the way for printing me often in YourHub!), but as they said: “Musgrave has earned a fourth term.”