Democrats Debate for Republicans

This should be interesting.

Tomorrow evening, May 11, from 7:00 – 8:30, at Denver West High School, Mayoral runoff candidates Chris Romer and Michael Hancock will square off in a debate sponsored by Denver County Republicans.

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Even though Republicans constitute about 1/6 of Denver’s registered voters, Democrats in the nominally non-partisan races tend to ignore them. Not this year. With such a close race, and with neither candidate having a clear, obvious appeal to Republicans, neither candidate can afford to take any votes for granted.  Thus, this debate.  Chuck Plunkett of the Denver Post will MC the event, and KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman will moderate.  The Denver GOP has solicited questions from the public.

The major concerns will surely be about the city budget deficit, taxes, and how the city can encourage job creation and businesses to relocate to Denver.  Given Hancock’s involvement in the Montbello school reforms, and Romer’s State Senate activity on the medical marijuana issue, those may also come into play.

What is particularly interesting is that these are both liberal Democrats, yet they’ll be subjected to an evening of questions from the Republican & small-l libertarian points of view.  They’re likely not used to getting that on a sustained basis, and while they can’t afford to pander (especially given that plenty of non-Republicans will be watching and hearing quotes from the debate), neither can they afford to be seen blowing off a significant opposing world view.

No doubt each will start off by acknowledging their differences with the crowd, but hoping to show that he’s open-minded, willing to listen, etc.  How they frame those positions, and whether or not either shows frustration with questions that routinely challenge his political philosophy will be fascinating to see.

The debate is free and open to the public, and should be very informative.

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