On Saturday night, the Liberty University Law School and the Lynchburg Tea Party played host to all seven of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination to be the next lieutenant governor of Virginia. The potential nominees, as they were seated at the forum, are: E. W. Jackson, Susan Stimpson, Pete Snyder, Steve Martin, Scott Lingamfelter, Corey Stewart, and Jeannemarie Devolites Davis.
Former Speaker of the House of Delegates Vance Wilkins offered both the opening and closing remarks for the event. He remarked at the end that it was unfortunate that each of the candidates is seeking the same office, as each seemed like a worthy choice for the position. Throughout the event, each candidate tried to outdo the others, painting himself or herself as a conservative and a liberty-minded leader.
After introductory statements by the candidates, the moderator asked a series of fourteen rotating questions where each could offer his or her reply to six of them. In the second part, each candidate could reply to one of the previous questions that he or she was not asked in round one. Third, each candidate could ask one question of one of his or her fellow office seekers.
So what were the topics discussed? Well, they included: the castle doctrine and the right of self defense, voter ID requirements, considerations on the governor’s plan to eliminate the gas tax and raise the sales tax, public school safety, Virginia’s right to work laws, and the 10th Amendment.
Now with these thoughts in mind, who performed the best? Well, given her viewpoints, widely painted as liberal, Jeannemarie Davis did surprising well; she worked diligently to counteract many of the accusations leveled against her by a variety of groups including voicing her support for the 2nd Amendment. I thought Pete Snyder led for most of the event, building rapport through his use of audience participation. However, he offered an unexpected answer seemingly in favor of sanctuary cities in Virginia. Concluding his response, he openly rebuked his previous thoughts and later explained that he misunderstood the question. Although I had not heard him speak before, I believe that Delegate Scott Lingamfelter emerged as the winner of the Liberty forum, offering strong opinions and sharing relevant stories to explain his positions.
Overall, I would rate the event as a success and thank both Liberty and the Lynchburg Tea Party for holding the gathering. I regret that I cannot provide any picture of the event as my camera malfunctioned. For those who were unable to make the trip to Lynchburg, the next lt. governor debate/forum will be taking place at the Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown on February 9th starting at 1 PM. As I’ve stated previously, this year’s race for lieutenant governor is particularly important; assuming you plan to be a delegate to the GOP convention, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about all of the candidates before casting your vote.