On Wednesday, the folks at the Orlando Sentinel, League of Women’s Voters, and a few other organizations hosted a terrific candidate forum featuring all of the State House, and State Senate races in Central Florida.
Hosted by the Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell, and FOX 35′s Keith Landry, the forum took over 15 candidates, put them on stage in front of a full house at the Shakespeare Theater and asked them the tough questions. Education, the economy, abortion, and tourism were all covered and it produced some strong ideas, and great political theater. The format of the debate was the best part of the event. A “Royal Rumble” of politicians that had candidates moving to the microphone to push their platform to voters before their opponents. It also led to disagreements between candidates that aren’t even in the same race!.
The moderators were great and have done dozens of these before. It’s tough enough to keep two candidates on track let alone 15 of them.
Got to give credit to Rep. Scott Plakon. By applause, this audience leaned slightly left and Plakon was booed often. He took the shots, didn’t fold on his platform and moved on. His opponent was a no show. If he didn’t earn any votes, he should have earned some respect.
Rep. Darren Soto was putting on a clinic at times, using his experience in Tallahassee and integrating that experience into his answers. His opponent also didn’t show.
Multiple opponents in one place. You got to see previews of Linda Stewart vs. Bob Brooks. You had Shayan Elahi vs. Joe Saunders. And you had candidates that you might not otherwise see at all during an election cycle.
Here are a couple of photos.
The candidates present with links to their websites (if they could be found):
Scott Plakon- State House 30
Darren Soto- State Senate 14
Rosalind Johnson State House District 46
Bob Brooks State House 47
Shannon Currie State House 45
Rene “Coach P” Plasencia State House 49
Fritz Seide State Senate 12
John F. Bush State House 28
Joe Saunders State House 49
Victor Torres State House 48
Mike Clelland State House 34
Jason Henry State House 46
Shayan Elahi State House 49
Linda Stewart State House 47
Ron Rushing State Senate 15
Sean Ashby State House 50
A great event with a format that needs to be used more often!