No gaffes. No bombshells. No Whitehead.
With the 10th District campaign drawing to a close, candidates at the Atlanta Press Club's debate resolutely stayed on message and some stayed on the noticeably absent front-runner.
As he has in previous debates, assumed front runner Jim Whitehead (R) chose not to attend. Based on its policy the Atlanta Press Club provided an empty podium representing the missing State Senator. A gesture noticeably more reserved than the alledged bobblehead which took Whitehead's place at the Athens Banner Herald debate.
Whitehead's perceived prime competition, James Marlow (D) and Bill Greene (R), shot straight for the empty spot on stage with Greene asking but receiving no answer to the question of why Whitehead would attend no debates. After a few titters from the audience, moderator Nwandi Lawson of the GPB, clarified the debate would not spend the mandated response time in silence.
Marlow's question to the absent Whitehead was a bit more pointed. Referring to the infamous Whitehead quote on the Iraq War not being "a big deal in the district", Mr. Marlow noted the Republican candidate was as silent as always on the issue.
Interestingly, three of the first four Republicans to participate in the direct question segment addressed their questions directly to Marlow. Marlow in perhaps an acknowledgment of the recognition as a legitimate contender responded he was "glad to be getting all the questions tonight". Greene, although he was also one of the first Republicans to speak chose to address the non-existent Whitehead instead of the Democratic front runner.
The other candidates made for an interesting sideshow with talk of Iraq, immigration and the proposed I-3, and recently Athens Banner Herald endorsed candidate did take several opportunities to point out his military service, but in the end, two candidates acted like front runners. Only the polls on June 19th will tell if on this day they led the pack or were just as non-existent as Whitehead.
You can watch the debate tonight at 7:00pm on your local GPB station.
Also Jim Galloway, who sat two rows in front of me, has posted his impressions on Political Insider. He caught some pretty cool stuff that I didn't.
For the straight dope on who was in the chicken suit, go here. First time I've ever asked a chicken to comment on the record.