Thoughts on the candidate forum

This is by no means a substitute for you investing some time and watching the video, nor is it an in-depth analysis of every candidate or what I heard. There were at least 2 journalists from the Dayton Daily news there- both wet behind the ears youngsters, and you can get their reporting here (no guarantee of it working or being public). For the Dayton Daily- it’s actually a decent article.

The crowd was one of the biggest I’ve seen for a candidates forum, however if you assume each of the 13 candidates brought a mini-entourage, this could again be more of the “Friends and family effect.” This also means, short answers, and no questions from the audience. That they cut off the semi-promised closing 1 minute statement was cruel. In the future, penalize the folks who committed to come late by cutting off their closes or something like that. If some folks want to leave early, that’s what the video is for. BTW- I, as always, the candidate who is accessible, filmed it, put it together, spend the extra time to add the chapters so you can skip to exactly where you are interested and was at my office until after 10pm last night doing it. In less than 12 hours it has 70 views.

Filmed by David Esrati

I had offered to livestream it with multiple cameras and also broadcast on WRCX 40, but that idea was shot down. I also provided the only working wireless mic. If I had ever been in charge of sound for the Dem Party HQ before, I would have brought out a complete PA with multiple mics- their sound system is a hot mess with cheap gear.

I’m a huge believer in both forums and primaries. Forums give you a chance to sharpen your presentation, to prepare for the eventual show down with a Republican, and to build relationships with voters. The South Dayton Democratic Club, once again shows how it is superior to the Montgomery County Democratic Party (just go and compare sites for starters).

However, the questions that were asked of the Congressional contingent were hardball questions without enough time to get into the nuances. There is little chance of a freshman rep being a major player on arms supplies to Ukraine or Israel, working on a cease fire in Gaza or relief. Our existing congressman, Mike Turner’s latest effort to spur support for Ukraine involved leaking government secrets and committing crimes that if anyone from WPAFB had done it- would have landed them in the pokey. Note, only this candidate issued a statement and posted an article. The second question about immigration was a republican gotcha question, where we already know that Republicans in Congress have stonewalled any solution so to keep the issue going so their messiah, the criminal, can scream “build the wall” at his rally’s.

Unfortunately, this seems like the only forum we’ll have. Greene County Dems were in attendance last night, and the Clark County Dem party chair already made his choice behind closed doors on the Ohio Dem Party screening committee, where he endorsed a carpetbagger from outside the district to be their “endorsed candidate.”

This “endorsement in primaries” thing is counter-active to free and fair primaries. If voters really want choices, besides the “Coke and Pepsi” of standard party candidates, parties need to learn to facilitate forums, not meet in back rooms and choose for you. Last time out, I faced a 4 way primary, and came out on top with minimum effort only to be denied any access to the tools and data the party has to run against Turner. They defacto backed him and won’t own it. Numbers tell a different story. Nan Whaley who also ran statewide with their support and $9M did worse than I did in OH-10, her home district, and I ran on $40K while recovering from rotator cuff surgery to boot.

I am going to share my observations of each race briefly, but I encourage you to go to each candidates website, to ask them questions, to do your homework on each one. I have wondered why I need to pass a background check to be considered for guardianship, but candidates don’t have to take one to run for office (George Santos anyone?). I also always tell people to follow the money, and generally the person with the most small donations is the right one. Times are tough, and when you can get working people to part with $5 or $10 a month, compared to getting $3,300 from an out-of-state billionaire (like Turner with his 27 of them last time) or big checks from the union your hubby is in, generally means you won’t be represented. I believe in a donor registration system for all political races, with verified donors and real time reporting.

I’m going in order of the video- so you can follow along:

For County Commission: Judy Dodge was separated (but not far) from her Siamese twin Debbie Lieberman on the dais. She has been in local politics so long, that she doesn’t even have a website for her campaign. Her opponent, who has pulled petitions many times but usually doesn’t turn in, Yuossef Elzein had prepared answers for somethings, and decided to pipe in during my answer to the weapons question. The winner of this race will face the winner of the Jordan Wortham vs Kate Baker Republican Primary. Elzein didn’t impress me with his answer on solutions for cheaper housing. As someone who has worked since 1986 in a distressed neighborhood that is now fully gentrified (see update on my “Neighborhood cancer” article from yesterday) I can tell you that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about or the absolute absurdity of trying to bring back neighborhoods that have been hollowed out. The good news is, we already know Dodge doesn’t have a clue either- having done nothing so far. Elzein’s denouncement of solar is totally unfounded and downright scary, We need better candidates with deeper insights working on these problems.

For Congress: Obviously, I’m biased. Tony Pombo‘s idea that as a newbie with no online history he’s somehow safe from being maligned by Turner or the press is naïveté defined. His answer to immigration- based purely on importing cheap labor is crude and borders on mean. Joe Kuzniar, although well meaning, thinks we should pump more money into the military as we approach a trillion on paper or exceed it with the aid to Ukraine and Israel. I have the utmost respect for Joe and his effort to give voters choices, but at 81, he’s already served his country proudly and the last thing we need is another octogenarian in Congress. Amy Cox is a piece of work, she lives in Eaton, not in the district. Her last run against Rodney Creech, she was a placeholder on the ballot. Her 2020 effort, for an open seat in an R district brought her a 9 point loss against a weak opponent. Watch how she so carefully avoids the hard questions. Dig into where her backing from the party is coming from.

Whoever comes out of this, faces the Mike Turner machine where no one has come within 10 points ever. Another candidate said “We need a woman to run against him” to me- ignoring the string of women who have run and failed, including Desiree Tims who raised $2M, outspending Turner, and still losing with Joe Biden and full party support in 2020. I strongly believe that I’m the only one who can at least damage Turner- as a veteran, as someone who knows him from his political start and as someone he detests.

For State Senate district 6, this is an odd opportunity. The district was redrawn by Republicans to favor a Dem, tossing their boy Niraj Antani to the wind. The winner will face Republican Charlotte McGuire in what should be a pushover easy race.

Why Willis Blackshear Jr left his guaranteed house seat is because he was only eligible for one more 2 year term- and this is a guaranteed 12 more years without having to work in the real world. He was given his house seat and has never had to run a competitive race. Despite having more money, the race is probably between Jyl Hall and Jocelyn Rhynard– a new Kettering Councilwoman who is the daughter of former Congressman Tony Hall and 2nd term Dayton Public School board member Rhynard. While this is the first time I’ve really heard Blackshear Jr. in public and his answers were fine, his campaign site looks like it was done in 2004 by a high school student and the women are much more dynamic. That said- Hall beats around the abortion issue and Rhynard is a strong campaigner.

In the 38th House District between Desiree Tims and Derrick Foward you have a professional politician vs a community leader. It was painful to watch Foward struggle with the crud that’s been going around which I’ve had for over a week- his voice was shot. When it got really bad- I gave him one of my cough drops. Needless to say, if you want to watch a polished from central casting candidate- Tims is picture perfect. After the primary, this race is over- there is no Republican running and if an independent turns in, it would be an uphill fight.

The 36th has newcomer Rose Lounsbury going against an old political name Chuck Horn (junior?). They will be facing Republican Andrea White who outspent her last opponent 10-1 and narrowly won. The district is considered a toss-up at this point. Lounsbury is charismatic and has a million dollar smile and very strategic in her answers, Horn is a fun sideshow act, but doesn’t seem to be a serious candidate but serves a purpose in getting people to discuss and debate the race. Lounsbury is a personal coach- and former teacher, her poise, her presentation is something any potential candidate should study- me included.

I’ve got links to the League of Women’s voters videos in the pre-forum post: Real democratic club conducts real forum. You’re invited.

I’d love to hear your feedback. And please remember, I’m the only candidate that provides this kind of access and feedback. Choose wisely. Early voting is now open.

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