It was standing room only at the debate for two seats in the Michigan legislature on Thursday night in Orchard Lake.
The Greater West Bloomfield Republicans hosted the event after planning and promoting it for weeks. They were well prepared for the large group of attendees. GWBR president, Janine Kateff presided over the event and did a fantastic job with both passion and impartiality. Dr. Robert Steele did a great job as moderator. He laid out the questions for the candidates and moved the debate forward with ease and charm.
If attendees had been wondering how and why their incumbent state legislators Klint Kesto and Mike Kowall came to the decisions they did on legislation before voting, they may have been disappointed in the debate as both Kesto and Kowall were last minute no-shows.
However, if attendees wanted to know how their challengers would have voted on the same legislation and why, they were not disappointed. Deb O’Hagan, challenging Klint Kesto for State Rep., 39th District, and Matt Maddock, challenging Mike Kowall for the State Senate, – 15th District, were ready, sharp and clear on their positions. Dr. Steele questioned the candidates on a wide variety of topics, including Obamacare/Medicaid expansion and Health Care Exchanges, Common Core, corporate welfare, the gas tax, charter schools, roads, and more.
Attendees, as well as the GWBR, are the same people who supported and helped Kesto and Kowall get elected in their respective last elections, but clearly Kesto and Kowall couldn’t muster the courage to face these same people who put them in office.
The event had been planned for weeks. Kesto and Kowall cancelled with very little notice. According to Kesto’s own facebook page, he was out walking during the debate (note the time at the top of the image, right in the middle of the debate).
To make matters worse, Jim Theinel, Chairman of the Oakland County Republican Party, posted on Facebook at 5pm that the event was cancelled. This came off as a surprise to the event organizers, Janine Kateff of the GWBR. Fortunately, the misleading Facebook post didn’t deter attendees and the event was still an overwhelming success.
Alan Stephens (also challenging Kesto) and Ron Molnar (challenging Kowall) were also at the debate. They appeared ill-prepared for the important topics begin discussed. They either agreed entirely with Matt or Deb’s position, or were so far off from it that no rebuttal was even necessary, or they had little or nothing to say about a topic. In fairness, they were late invitees to the debate. One can only guess how the two no-shows could have responded to the burning questions that Michigan conservative voters have for them.
The strong showing by the challengers and the no-showing of the incumbents puts true conservatives one step closer to getting Maddock and O’Hagan elected. Elections have consequences, and so does your voting record once elected. One must assume that they would not have been able to defend their respective voting records, and each decided that not showing up was in their best interest.