Mark Amodei for Congress

Political debates frequently occur in the theater of the absurd. The first U.S. House debate between Democrat Kate Marshall and Repubican Mark Amodei was no different. Both candidates were stuck like glue to their talking points, and both exited the stage having done no harm to each other or to themselves. No zingers, no gotcha questions, and no gaffes.

Although the debate was an exercise in boring, it still highlighted the differences between the two top-tier contenders, as well as the two minor candidates.

Marshall, our state treasurer, vowed to protect Social Security and Medicare and expressed her desire for a balanced federal budget. She, rightfully so, highlighted her successes as state treasurer pointing out that Nevada’s investments have made money every quarter she has been in office. Thankfully, she decided against claiming once again that she guided the state through the fiscal crisis with a “steady hand.” This outrageous claim did nothing but make her look like a nincompoop, and I, for one, am glad she didn’t make it again.

Amodei, former state senator and past president of the Nevada Mining Association, devoted a fair chunk of time highlighting his list of accomplishments in and out of the Nevada Legislature. His impressive resume is no secret to voters, and he touted his own military career as well as his daughter’s. Amodei’s signature phrase, “Are you better off than you were two years ago?” was prominent in his rhetoric. Marshall predictably brought up Amodei’s 2003 tax vote, and Amodei wasted no time explaining his untenable position in that session. Amodei has been explaining that vote longer than Marshall has been complaining about it, and although her bloated rhetoric sounds good on the surface, she conveniently glossed over the fact that Amodei’s 2003 alternative to Gov. Kenny Guinn’s dreaded gross-receipts tax enjoyed wide support from her fellow Democrats.

Independent candidate Helmuth Lehmann and Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano also participated in the debate, to their detriment. Both were ill-prepared compared to Marshall and Amodei, espousing talk radio talking points and buzzwords, and when uncommon issues like No Child Left Behind came up, both found themselves pale-faced and at a loss for words. Fasano came across as grumpy and mean, while Lehmann never shook his nervousness long enough to make any sort of convincing argument. This is a contest between Kate Marshall and Mark Amodei, and that’s what it should be. Regardless of how abrasive and vocal the third-party candidate’s supporters were, neither of these gentlemen offer a viable alternative to the Republican or Democrat.

Overall, both Marshall and Amodei performed up to their consultants’ standards. Marshall, however ate up much of her time reiterating the question or explaining the subject, thereby avoiding giving a real answer. Amodei, on the other hand, was spot on with his views, convictions, and his plan for representing the district.

I like elections like this, where voters are given the choice between two eminently qualified candidates. This is not an election where one has to plug his/her nose on the way into the voting booth, and that’s a welcome change. Kate Marshall is well-versed, proficient, and she has done a fine job as our state treasurer. However, when it comes to who will best represent the residents of 2nd Congressional District, the edge goes to Mark Amodei. He’s more in touch with the needs of Northern Nevada, and even a brief conversation with him cements this. This isn’t only about political party, this is about who will best represent Northern Nevada in Washington. That person is Mark Amodei. He has my vote, and he deserves yours as well. Early voting starts in a couple days, so I urge you to vote Mark Amodei for congress.