Before Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford set foot on the debate stage at The Citadel Monday night, the 1st District congressional campaign debate has been long-running.
Is she a Democratic puppet? Is he a just-say-no Republican?
Who will bring more jobs? Can he overcome his personal baggage? Can she resist pressure from unions? Will either of them clearly state their goals?
One consistent point of contention has been that Mark Sanford wanted more than one face-to-face debate with his opponent. Ms. Busch has demurred, although the two will appear together two more times, just not in debate.
Still, most prospective voters will not be able to attend any of the events. And until Thursday, only the computer savvy were expecting to have a chance to see the candidates spar. It is to be streamed live to computers on SCETV.org, WCBD’s Counton2.com and on charleston.patch.org. It will be aired live on S.C. Radio Network. In Charleston, that’s WTMA-AM, 1250.
SCETV had considered airing the debate live on television, but the streaming equipment it will be using is not strong enough to produce a live air signal.
However, staff, recognizing that a significant number of their viewers don’t even know what streaming is, on Thursday, decided to record Monday’s full debate and air it Tuesday morning at 10:30 during the Statehouse Today programming slot. When it is over, legislative coverage will resume.
SCETV is offering a valuable service to people who want to make educated, reasoned decisions about how to vote.
There are no remaining tickets for the 75-minute debate, sponsored by Patch, an on-line community-specific news service. The host will be John Avlon, senior columnist at Newsweek and the Daily Beast.
Panelists will be Shawn Drury, S.C. political editor, Patch; Ashley Byrd, news director, S.C. Radio Network; and Brendan Clark, anchor, WCBD.
Former Gov. Sanford and Ms. Busch will be questioned on federal spending, immigration, gun rights and other key topics.
To date, the race has been marked by emotion and second-guessing. It has attracted national attention, though not because of policy issues.
This will be the public’s best opportunity to add some substance to their decision-making. It should be worth a listen and, now, a look.