The Folsom Chamber of Commerce held a candidate forum last night. It featured 9(!) of the candidates for #AD06. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Brian Caples and the other Dem were no-shows.
I am going to focus on the funded candidates – so let me summarize the others quickly before the fun part.
“Bo” – rambled. He also attacked the GOP (because he is an NPP don’t you know) and came across poorly as a result.
Gabriel Hydrick – the Lincoln Councilmember presented himself well and as an honest broker. Hydrick seemed to have a grasp of issues. This version of Hydrick is markedly different than the man I have been hearing about for the last 6 years in Lincoln. Hydrick has no money, no access to money and looks to be headed to also-ran status.
As a side note, I liked his ballot statement that he submitted when he filed for office. I told him as such afterwards.
Suzanne Jones – came across poorly. She distinguished herself by attacking the others on the stage railing on everyone for getting financial support while asserting her moral superiority. Just not a good way to go.
Mik. Sounded like one of the Good-fellas. He is a leader. Just ask him. He will tell you, repeatedly. We will be relieved of seeing him on street corners very soon.
And, now for the fun:
Cristi Beckstead-Nelson, robotic. She was reciting from memory off of her website. It was so bad that on more than one occasion she forgot her lines. She did indeed repeat the lie of being a business owner multiple times. It made me feel like I was time warped back to 2011 when I witnessed another unqualified, inarticulate candidate with a falsified resume make similar public gaffes.
Beckstead-Nelson looked miserable and her disdain for other candidates while they were speaking was palpable. I’ve been told by more than one person that has interacted with Ms. Beckstead-Nelson that she is very status conscious and is remiss to interact with average people unless there is a direct benefit to do so. This was clear to this blogger by virtue of her behavior on the stage.
Beckstead-Nelson has had a large head start on the rest of the field and she appears to have been caught up to and passed in a short time. That has to be frustrating for her. Maybe she should have not filed and reimbursed her husband the $100k she wasted, I mean “lent” her campaign.
Kevin Hanley was much more subdued last night and presented good answers to most questions. He is attempting to walk right through one of his biggest weaknesses, Auburn. He frequently referred to his time on the Auburn City Council and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.
Hanley’s campaign seems to be stuck in time. Mr Hanley touts his resume, which includes 24 years of government work. Even before Hanley’s performance last night, I was clear there is no question that Hanley is qualified for the job. I can’t say I can blame Hanley for what he is doing, however I think modern campaigns have left Mr. Hanley behind.
Andy Pugno certainly appeared confident, if not cocky about the prospects of his campaign for Assembly by virtue of the way he carried himself. When he was not distracted by his cell phone, he gave unrehearsed answers to questions that sometimes included stories.
Pugno was the only candidate that specifically mentioned the social issues. Halldin did by inference – those are the only two that went there. Pugno also made it clear how he intends to attack at least one of his foes – referencing public employee union money and his plan to not take any of it. (Like they would attempt to donate or endorse Mr. Pugno to begin with)
Kevin Kiley was indeed the most bizarre candidate of the evening. Kiley spoke to the audience as if he was arguing a case in court. When he was not speaking, he was fidgeting and giving off an aura of superiority. Both are quite a spectacle for a young man of 31 years of age who has never been married and has no real-world job experience.
Kiley almost spoke of himself in the third person and like Pugno was using lawyer vernacular and large words in his presentations. I am not sure how Pugno or Kiley relate to the public at large – or if either of them care. Both appear to believe that they have this race locked up.
I have endorsed Bill Halldin. I am actively working to help his campaign. Therefore I believe that Bill Halldin was the clear winner of last night’s forum. Halldin answered all of the questions well and all there acknowledged that Mr. Halldin was ready to go.