Ben Horsley, a friend and candidate for House District 19 this year, put together a meet the candidates event as part of his campaign on Saturday at Bountiful City Hall. This was not a chance to meet the candidates for District 19 (where I don’t live anyway but if I did I’d be voting for him) but the candidates for U.S. Senate. It included all the Republican Candidates as well as other political figures in Utah (most prominently Rob Bishop and Mark Shurtleff). Although I have been interested in this race for over a year and thus have been closely studying the candidates for a long time I had not previously met Tim Bridgewater or James Williams – I could hardly pass up such a great opportunity right in my own back yard (so to speak). Thanks Ben!
Having studied the candidate previously I had some idea of my order of preference, but I really enjoyed this debate as it allowed me to really get things sorted out. Here’s my order of preference:
1. Mike Lee – I don’t think that surprises anyone considering I already publicly endorsed him but after hearing him with all the other candidates together I am that much more confident that he should be our Senator come next year.
2. Tim Bridgewater – I really like Tim overall. I think he’d make a decent senator – I just think that Mike would be better at filling the Constitutional duties of a senator.
3. (tie) Laura Bridgewater – she sat in for her husband for the first bit of the debate as he was running late and she had a good grasp of what our next senator should be and do – she’d be a great support to Tim if he were elected.
3. (tie) Sharon Lee – I’ve heard her speak before and believe she is a good support for Mike. I hadn’t thought to rank her among the candidates until I saw Mrs. Bridgewater in her husband’s place among the candidates but I think either of those two spouses would be better than the other candidates.
5. (tie) Bob Bennett – Despite his failings Bennett is not the worst choice available to us in this campaign. Like a typical Washington insider he is so busy viewing everything as “extremely complicated” that he seems to have lost sight of most of the simple facts that should be informing our complicated decisions.
5. (tie) James Williams – I had high hopes for James. I had heard really good things about him from people attending other debates, but after listening to him I am forced to conclude that he is a good and well-intentioned man who is out of his depth politically. Philosophically he has good principles, but I don’t believe that he would be an effective force at representing those principles or the people of Utah.
7. Cherilyn Eagar – I remember being excited about the possibilities when I started investigating her as a candidate, but seeing her in a debate showed her as combative, passionate, and disrespectful. If I wanted someone like that there must be 20 other states I could move to where I would have two such Senators in place already. She argues that having a conservative woman in the Senate would be a powerful thing – I’m sure that’s true, but I’ve already named two other conservative women from Utah who would make better senators.