Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the gubernatorial debate held this week in Memphis.
Memphis voters this week got a rare general election treat; an actual debate held inside the city limits. The face-off between gubernatorial candidates Democrat Karl Dean and Republican Bill Lee took place on the University of Memphis campus. Several of the questions focused on issues exclusive to the Bluff City, including improvements to the city’s public transportation system, getting the TBI involved in all police-involved shootings, providing more support for public education in Shelby County, and protecting the Memphis Aquifer, which is the source of our drinking water.
By those measures, Memphis got the statewide attention it deserved after a Senate debate scheduled last month at Rhodes College fell through after Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn declined to participate.
For the most part, Dean and Lee were pretty low key on Tuesday and resisted attacking each other, even as they disagreed on such issues as Medicaid expansion, gun control, and universal Pre-K.
One down side to the hour-long debate was the lack of follow up questions that could have pressed the candidates more on vague responses. Dean, the former mayor of Nashville, appeared to offer more specifics in his answers. But Lee, a Williamson county business man, closed the debate with a strong personal appeal to voters.
Two more gubernatorial debates are on the schedule. That’s two more opportunities for Tennessee voters to carefully evaluate who’s best prepared to run our state. And that’s my point of view.