Breaking down the Rep. congressional debate

Written by  Monday, 16 July 2012 12:29

Four Republican candidates from Georgia's 12th District faced off in a Statesboro debate last Thursday, in the hopes of winning some votes in order to face incumbent Democrat Congressman John Barrow in November.

 

Lee Anderson, Rick Allen, Maria Sheffield and Wright McLeod took to the stage at Ogeechee Technical College at an event hosted by Georgia Eagle Media, in conjunction with the Bulloch County Republican Party and the Georgia 12th District GOP. Candidate were posed questions submitted by email and by the audience beforehand.

 

At the conclusion of the debate, Augusta lawyer Wright McLeod bested his three Republican challengers in a straw poll by the GOP.


With nearly 300 people in attendance and 146 submitting votes, McLeod received 50 percent  or 73 votes cast in the straw poll, followed by Dublin lawyer Maria Sheffield with 33 votes, Augusta businessman Rick Allen with 27 votes and Grovetown state representative Lee Anderson receiving 13 votes.

 

The following is a complete list of the questions asked by moderator Tommy Palmer to the candidates. The names following the question indicate the order in which the candidates answered that particular question.

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Before we start asking questions, each of you has 90 seconds to give an opening statement. The order was drawn at random before the debate and we'll start with Wright McLeod  –  Maria Sheffield  –  Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen.

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Now we're entering the first round of questions. All the questions in the debate were selected from submissions sent in by email from radio listeners, visitors to statesboro365.com and GOP members. Each  of the following questions will require a specific followed by a brief explanation. Each candidate will get 60 seconds per question. There are no rebuttals in this round as we are looking for answers about you, and not about your opponents. We will tackle that subject later.

Here is the first question:  If you were to make it to Washington, what committee or committees would you hope to be appointed? Let's start with Maria Sheffield  –  Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen  –  Wright McLeod

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All of the rest of the questions will relate to the federal government, but with the vote coming up later this month, do you support Georgia's T-SPLOST referendum? Why or Why not?
Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen   –  Wright McLeod  –  Maria Sheffield

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If elected, name one federal program or agency that you would actively seek to cut, and tell us why.
Rick Allen   –  Wright McLeod  –  Maria Sheffield – Lee Anderson

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Again, if elected, name one federal program or agency that you would absolutely keep, and tell us why.
Wright McLeod  –  Maria Sheffield  –  Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen

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All four of you have said in previous interviews that you support banning gay marriage, but this could be look at as legislating morality or continued encroachment from the federal government into our private lives. Give us you opinion of gay marriage without citing personal beliefs or tradition.
Maria Sheffield  –  Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen  –  Wright McLeod

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The average American household makes $41,000 per year. Many in Georgia's 12th district make less. Give us a personal example of a time where you overcame a financial hardship.
Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen   –  Wright McLeod  –  Maria Sheffield

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Would you still be running for this position if it didn't come with a six-figure salary and federal benefits for life, but instead had no benefits and paid only the salary of the average US soldier.
Rick Allen   –  Wright McLeod  –  Maria Sheffield – Lee Anderson

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On to the next round of questions. Too often in these type debates, we ask well-worn questions and the audience gets canned answers. So, we thought we do something a little different. Each candidate now has three minutes to speak about whatever topic they wish. You are free to speak on any topic of your choosing, possibly items like your priorities in Washington, concerns about our Nation that are on your mind, or issues that you have heard on the trail.
We'll go in reverse order this time: Rick Allen – Lee Anderson – Maria Sheffield – Wright McLeod

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In the final round, these questions are designed to help the audience determine why you think you'd be the best candidate to face off against Congressman John Barrow in November.  Each candidate will still have 60 seconds to answer with 30 seconds of rebuttal, to be monitored by me.

What qualities make you the best Republican candidate to face off against John Barrow in November.
  –  Maria Sheffield  –  Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen

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Be honest, while you've been brainstorming with your campaign staff, what is the one thing that could make it difficult for you to win in November. What's your weakness?
Maria Sheffield  –  Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen – Wright McLeod

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Part of the Republican platform is small government. How do you balance minimizing federal spending while still attracting federal dollars to the district?
Lee Anderson  –  Rick Allen – Wright McLeod – Maria Sheffield

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Most Amercians agree we have to reduce our reliance on foreign oil,  however Republicans continue to support both green initiatives and oil subsidies. Since you're all likely to say "Drill, baby, drill" what else could you do as Congressman to strive for energy independence while reducing federal programs?
Rick Allen – Wright McLeod – Maria Sheffield – Lee Anderson

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And our final question, how do we reform federal programs for the poor? After all, if we strive to be a Christian nation, the government should take care oft he genuinely needy. But how to you separate the needy from those who are abusing the system?
Wright McLeod – Maria Sheffield – Lee Anderson – Rick Allen

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I want to thank everyone for participating tonight. We'll now go to closing remarks. Candidates, you have one minute.
Maria Sheffield – Wright McCleod – Rick Allen – Lee Anderson

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