Congressman Scott Tipton and Sal Pace had their first debate of the season at Adams State University. The debate was hosted by the Adams State Veterans Club and the questions were submitted by them. If someone has a link to the transcript or video, please post it in the comments.
The local Democrats showed up to the debate in force even going so far as setting up a table inside the building, just outside the theater doors. They outnumbered Republicans by a two to one.
I live tweeted the debate with the hashtag #tiptonpace and you can see my notes. (Who needs a notebook when you have twitter? :) ) Rather than repeat everything here, I'd like to share a few impressions I had from the debate.
First off, Rep. Tipton, you were at Adams State University not Alamosa State University. ASU is one the largest employers in the San Luis Valley and one of the most important fixtures. You're not helping your cause by getting it wrong. He did made that same mistake at his town hall down here a couple weeks ago.
Most of Tipton's answers came from his stump speeches. He first got fired up when he talked about the administration dropping cash to drill off of Brazil instead of on our own soil.
Sal Pace spent a lot of time talking about gridlock. He really struck me as being naive about how things work in Washington. He talked a lot about just sitting down with the other side to solve problems. His implication was that it was all Tipton and the Republicans' fault. He seemed to willingly overlook the fact the Democrats rammed ObamaCare through with hardly any consultation with Republicans and no Republican votes.
Pace called for Congress to balance the budget. "We did it in Colorado," it should be easy to do the same thing in Washington, he claimed. The catch is that Colorado is required by law to have a balanced budget.
One of the questions was about EPA overreach. Tipton talked about the passing the REIN act to check the EPA. Pace offered that tractors and farm dust should not be regulated under the Clean Air Act.
There were some fireworks when the candidates were asked about energy production. Pace claimed that, like Tipton, he didn't support picking winners and losers and then went on to boast of passing increases in green energy requirements in Colorado. Tipton called him on it though he isn't fabulous here either with his support for sending tax dollars to wind companies.
The question about ObamaCare was interesting. Tipton, of course, talked about passing a repeal in the House. Pace said that he was opposed to the mandates but he opposed them, not because of individual liberty, but because he didn't want to force people to buy from private companies. I guess he's rather they be forced to "buy" from the government.
Pace talked up tax reform but he meant it as a way to increase taxes. Tipton got on him for his support of the "Dirty Dozen" tax hikes in Colorado which fell heavily on rural Colorado. Pace also attacked the Ryan budget because of the cuts contained it. Despite claiming to want a balanced budget, he'll find that it's hard to do that without major cuts.
One last thought, veterans may want to be wary of Sal Pace and his desire to increase the medical background checks for gun purchases. Those are often used as an excuse to prevent veterans from owning firearms.
So those are my major thoughts on the debate. There was very little new here. Really, if you go to a debate expecting to hear something new, you're going to be disappointed.
Programming note: Seeing Stars will not be up tomorrow and, since I have to work late tomorrow, it may not be up Thursday either.