A brand new "Hillary 2016" pin, as you might expect, is my favorite souvenir from last night's Lucas County candidate forum. While I'd have preferred "Obama 2012," it never hurts to think ahead. So thanks, Martin (a Republican who is neither over 70 nor computer illiterate). I can understand why you don't carry Obama campaign gear. I'll not wear the Romney pin, but had it been a refrigerator magnet, could put that to good use, too.
It was a nice well-mannered forum, although I'm not sure how many attend events like this in order to make better-informed decisions. Everyone should, of course --- just to experience candidates in person. Crowd size was fair, but most I suppose were present either to root for the home team (Go, Democrats!) or to hedge their bets --- just in case. It was great that all six state House and Senate candidates turned out, less than great that two of the five candidates for county supervisor chose not to (Republican Don Garrett and Democrat Gary Ingram; hopefully, they had good reasons). Thanks to George Holder, Steve Laing and Dennis Smith, who did.
It was a little bulky primarily because redistricting after the 2010 census split Lucas County down the middle, with Chariton and western townships falling in House District 27; the rest of the county in House District, 28. The entire county now falls in Senate District 14. So we had four House candidates up front rather than the usual two (Lucas County's Sen. Paul McKinley and Rep. Richard Arnold, both Republicans, are not seeking re-election).
Two of the Republican candidates, Fry and Wayne County's Amy Sinclair, did a better job of working the house, but two of the Democratic candidates, Knoxville's Dick Schrad and Megan Suhr, did better jobs of staying on point and actually answering all of the questions. The questions, by the way, dealt exclusively with the economy, health care and education --- no time or inclination I'd guess to get into the fun stuff.
Fry, incumbent running in territory that has been substantially reconfigured, is opposed by Ruth Smith of Lamoni, previously a Democrat but now running as an independent (there is no Democratic candidate in House 27). It wasn't, and still isn't, clear to me why Smith is running or exactly what her point is. Fry, a sometimes Church of Christ preacher, was the most polished of the candidates, as one would expect an incumbent to be. And, most likely, inevitable.
Sinclair is an engaging candidate, well on her way to developing a viable preacher persona, likable on first impression. Then you go to her Web site, where the centerpiece is a YouTube version of a speech she delivered at some point to an NRA-affiliated group. There, she manages to come across as just plain nuts and potentially armed and dangerous, too.
Anyhow, it was a useful evening. The big winner was the Leadership Plenty arm of the Lucas County Horizons program that sponsored it. Thanks!