Thoughts on the Third Debate

If you’ve read my thoughts on the first and second debates, you would know that I thought Larry Hogan was the clear winner in both of them. I know that I’m biased, but Saturday night’s debate victory was a step above even the first two debates for Hogan.

On every issue, on every question, it was very clear that both candidates understood where they were in the eleciton process. Larry Hogan is clearly the candidate who understands that this is a competative race, and a race that is breaking in his way.

Anthony Brown, on the other hand, is a candidate who clearly sees that the coronation he expected not only isn’t coming easy, but is also slipping out of his grasp.

While I noted that the second debate was chippy, this debate was openly hostile. However, it was one fought on issues that were favorable to Larry Hogan instead of Anthony Brown. The Brown Campaign has tried to fight this campaign on issuses related to abortion, contraception, and guns. And while the issue of SB 281 did come up during the debate, the exchange between the two candidates did Brown no favors.

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The most memorable line of the light might turn out to be the most memorable line of the entire campaign. When Brown was trying to to suggest that Hogan was “rooting for failure”, Hogan shot back “If I was rooting for failure, I’d just let you be Governor.”

The debate format and moderators, to me, were the most professional and well-prepared of this entire debate season. The questions were balanced, were fair, and the candidates were pressed to answer them even when they really tried to avoid doing so. It’s unfortuante both that this was the last debate, but also the fact that this debate aired at 7 PM on a Saturday night when voters weren’t very likely to see it.

The last two weeks of this campaign may wind up being the ugliest, most brutal two weeks we’ve ever seen in Maryland politics. The Brown Campaign is playing defense in places they expected to have locked up and the Democratic establishment will do anything to try to maintain their grip on power. It will be quite a scene.

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