Tonight, the candidates for the GOP senatorial nomination in California will debate for what is expected to be the last time.
The event will be held at Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, but it remains to be seen how tolerant each of the candidates will be with each other. With only five weeks until the primary election on June 8th, opponents Tom Campbell, Carly Fiorina and Chuck Devore are engaged in a close race to the finish.
As seen in other debates, look for Carly Fiorina and Chuck Devore to spar over the title of the principled, true conservative. Asked for the single most important point that each campaign wanted to impress upon the audience, both campaigns gave very similar answers.
Josh Trevino, a spokesperson for the Devore campaign, told FrumForum that Devore “is the only real conservative in this race — and only a real conservative can beat Barbara Boxer.” The Fiorina campaign responded that “Carly is the conservative who can beat Barbara Boxer.” The Campbell campaign has not yet returned a request for comment.
Tonight’s meeting is sure to feature plenty of contentious debate. Expect a discussion on Arizona’s new immigration law, which Tom Campbell and Chuck Devore have come out strongly in favor of. Fiorina took several days to state her position on the issue – expect her to be nailed by her opponents for a slow reaction.
Another issue expected to be debated will be national security, especially in the wake of the attempted Times Square bombing. Finally, expect Devore and Fiorina to take yet another few shots at Campbell for refusing to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
The race is still competitive. Recent polls place Tom Campbell as the front-runner, with Fiorina a close second. The most recent poll, conducted by KABC-TV, showed Fiorina at 27%, trailing by 7 points behind Tom Campbell but still substantially ahead of Chuck Devore’s 14% support.
Despite a substantial and relatively constant lead, Campbell has by no means locked the race up. The question over the next few weeks is whether Fiorina will dip into the $2.5 million that she has lent her own campaign. Responding to a question by FrumForum, Fiorina hinted that she would, telling us that “money was meant to be spent”.
Staffers for her opponents have suggested to FrumForum that the loan is a strategic move meant to boost her financial numbers, and will not actually be spent during the race.
In a race where the importance of retail politics is diminished, the ad buys that could be purchased if Fiorina decides to go ‘all-in’ could be a game-changer.
In my opinion, this race is the most interesting Republican primary in the nation. The race is still tight, and can be said to represent a microcosm of the wider debate that is waging in the GOP between ‘modern’ conservatives and ‘true’ conservatives.
Finally, just for fun, the Carly Fiorina campaign distributed this debate drinking guide to reporters this afternoon. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, make sure to have a shot on behalf of your pals here at FrumForum, who will not be able to watch the debate, as there is no streaming webcast.
Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Debate Drinking Game
Take half a sip or shot depending on your beverage preference every time: (we feel the half-shot is important to avoid total inebriation within the first 20 minutes of the debate):
Ø Any candidate uses the term “fiscal conservative”
Ø Chuck DeVore or Tom Campbell reference their respective pocket Constitutions
Ø Chuck DeVore and Tom Campbell compliment, praise or otherwise seek to uplift one another
Ø Carly says, “Chuck, you know that’s not true…”
Ø Any candidate says they are the best one to beat Boxer
Take a full shot/sip every time:
Ø Tom Campbell references he was once called the “cheapest man in Congress”
Ø Tom Campbell references Glass-Steagall or Gramm Rudman
Ø Chuck DeVore says he was shot at in Lebanon
Ø Chuck DeVore mentions his high-tech billboard campaign strategy
Ø Carly talks about real world experience in creating jobs, cutting budgets and making a payroll
Extra Credit! Take two shots any time:
Ø Demon Sheep is referenced
Ø HindenBoxer is invoked
Ø Chuck DeVore mentions his “shorty” award
Ø The term “birther” is used
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