The Prince William Committee of 100 debates on Thursday, October 4th should be REALLY interesting. First up will be a brawl between 50th District Delegate Jackson Miller and Jeanette “Moonfruit” Rishell, who have been exchanging mailers and robo-calls in a campaign that Rishell turned into a negative campaign fight complete with blatant and outrageous lies. This will be the first, and only time these candidates will square off as far as I know. As Rishell is casting off her “I’m a nice grandma” schtick, I expect her to try to tear into Miller right off the bat, and Miller will pull out the political baseball bat in return and break it over her head. I can’t imagine any debate in the area being as contentious as this one.
Rishell really has little choice but to get mean, as Jackson Miller has done a great job in his first year in the General Assembly, getting a lot more of his bills through the House than you’d expect for a freshman. He said he would work to help get control over the illegal alien problem, and he’s definitely done that. It’s hard to make a case that he should be replaced, so going negative like this is about the only option she has. You’d think Rishell would go negative with information that is actually factual, however. Now that she’s stuck with her statements about Miller that have been proven false though, this is going to be a lot tougher to do.
The second debate between Senator Chuck Colgan and Bob Fitzsimmonds is the first of what will be several debates for these two, but Fitzsimmonds needs to continue to build his momentum here. Colgan is vulnerable on a lot of issues that really matter in this election, and a genteel delivery of these criticisms will help his campaign continue to gain momentum in what remains somewhat of an uphill battle to defeat the most senior member of the Virginia Senate. Colgan is a likeable guy — much more personable than that the strident throwback to the Gloria Steinham era Jeanette Rishell — and it’s not necessary or useful for Fitzsimmonds to get personal here. Convincing long-time residents that have always seen Colgan’s name on the ballot and have supported him that it’s time to make a change will be a delicate but very doable task.
If the press were to cover any of the Prince William Committee of 100 debates, this would be the one for them to devote some resources. I’m sure that the Miller/Rishell debate will make for plenty of good television soundbites, and the Colgan/Fitzsimmonds debate will be an interesting juxtaposition of an 81 year old senior Democrat viewed as a moderate against a younger and strong conservative challenger.
The debate will be held at the Four Points Sheraton (formerly the Holiday Inn) at 10800 Vandor Lane in Manassas. The debate starts at 7:45. For more information on the debates, visit the Prince William Committee of 100 website.
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