Current HCRP Chair Jared Woodfill moderated the debate, which lasted for an hour and twenty minutes. The questions ranged from “who is your role model” to “what alternative do you offer to Obamacare” and all points in between. There were three “highlights” that I’d like to note.
First, the residency issue. Candidate Faulk does not live inside the boundaries of the district and this has been capitalized on, or at least an attempt has been made to capitalize on it, by the other two opponents throughout this race. The questions came from the audience (submitted prior to the opening bell) and as the audience was mostly supporters of one candidate or another, I think the question was a continuation of that theme. But I thought that Mr. Faulk handled it well, noting that he did indeed live a half-block outside the boundary, that it was entirely legal to run, and more importantly, that he grew up and worked in the district for most of his life. His passion for the district and knowledge of it was evident for all to see. I don’t think that the questioner scored the points they thought they would.
It is clear that both Tex and Brenda consider Mr. Faulk the frontrunner. As such, the second “highlight” was when Tex came out swinging at Mr. Faulk. He held up two flyers, one of which I had not seen before, the other was the picture of Rep. Jackson Lee with duct tape over her mouth that Mr. Faulk ran on the Drudgereport (4 million impressions, 50k click throughs). Tex’s point is that divisive politics will not work in the 18th and that you must be able to reach across the aisle to voters in love. Mr. Faulk later warned Tex that if you stick your hand out to Rep. Jackson Lee, you are likely to pull back a bloody stump. I think he’s probably right about that! Here is the flyer that I had not seen before:
I talked to one of Tex’s supporters after the debate about this. He is a “person of color” and says that many in his community would see this as racist and that, while it might fly in the neighborhood we were in last night, it would not go over well in the other parts of the district. I’ll take his word for that but wonder if what we are seeing is “micro-targeting” by Mr. Faulk and that Tex is not used to seeing that type of campaigning. It happens all the time in well-funded races and certainly Mr. Faulk has raised far more money than Tex and Brenda combined.
The third and last highlight was on the “what alternative to Obamacare would you offer?” question. The answers to this simple question displayed the differences between these opponents far better than I ever could. I clipped the answers out for you and here they are, in the same order as last night. In Mrs. Page’s clip, you will hear Mr. Woodfill ask the question.
If you live in that district, you should listen to each of those before you vote. If you do, I think you will understand what I mean when I say that Mr. Faulk simply has more “substance” to him than the other two. Mrs. Page’s example of allowing consumers to order their own blood tests, is, I think, her way of saying that there are too many layers in the current system. I still haven’t figured out what Tex was trying to say but he did say that we need more public hospitals such as LBJ and Ben Taub while at the same time saying that we do not need nationalized health care.
Mr. Faulk immediately picked up on Tex’s support for more public hospitals, saying that was not the solution. He then outlined three specific areas – waste and fraud in Medicare, the cost of supporting illegal immigrants, and the abuse that occurs when someone else is picking up the tab. His answer on this was typical of the answers all night long: he offered depth and breadth, the other two offered talking points.
So there you have it, my impression of the debate and the candidates.
And to the sweet young woman that pulled me aside and thanked me for doing this, you made my night.