In a heavily attended lunch today at Bear Lakes Country Club, five of the six Republican candidates aiming to challenge Patrick Murphy for the CD18 seat gave their views of the campaign, the issues, and their own unique qualifications for the job.
The candidates are Juno Beach Councilwoman Ellen Andel, businessman and former State Legislator Carl Domino, Writer and cartoonist Ilya Katz, Former Connecticut State Representative Alan Schlesinger, and athletic trainer and former Tequesta Vice Mayor Calvin Turnquest. The sixth candidate, Beverly Hires was a last minute cancellation.
Moderated by RCPB president Rick Kozell, the candidates were first asked how they would defeat the incumbent Patrick Murphy.
Better understanding of the district and inspiring voters of the next generation to create a 21st century party, said Calvin Turnquest. Carl Domino offered that he was the most knowledgeable about the issues, is the only candidate who served in the military, and will raise the issues of the constitutionality of Obamacare. Alan Schlesinger cited fighting Obamacare and making inroads with minorities. Raising the fight against the sovietization of the US, offered Ilya Katz. Ellen Andel, the only woman in the group today, will blunt the Democrat narrative of the war on women, children, workers, etc. and be a candidate people can relate to.
Moving on to policy, they were asked to name three major issues facing the country that they could affect if elected, and the answers were all quite different.
Calvin Turnquest listed (legal) immigration, Obamacare’s failure to meet any of its promises, and help for small business – such as repealing the capital gains tax. He has experienced all three as an immigrant, health care worker who has owned a small business.
Carl Domino cited ending Obamacare (although he conceded that it is a defensive position until we have a new President), military and veterans issues, and jobs . Regarding the tax system, he said he believes in progressive taxation, but everyone should pay something.
Alan Schlesinger said numbers one, two and three were all the same – end Obamacare and reject the single payer system that is waiting in the wings when the ACA implodes. “They stuck it down our throats” he said, “now we should stick it up their ballot box.”
Ilya Katz would eliminate all business taxes, attend to cyberwar and energy grid protection, and repeal Obamacare.
Ellen Andel cited lack of fiscal responsibility, the health of Lake Okeechobee – an issue that got Murphy some attention but on which he hasn’t delivered, and ending the “selfishness of the ruling elite” with term limits, and elimination of legislator pensions.
Next, they were asked to differentiate themselves from the field. Some mentioned the “Reagan rule” about not talking ill about fellow Republicans, and they all stuck to highlighting their own strengths.
When asked “what sets you apart..”, Calvin Turnquest got some laughs with “Isn’t it obvious?” then went on to talk about leading the next generation of “Turnquest Republicans” who were not around to experience being “Reagan Republicans” first hand. “I am the candidate that Murphy most fears,” he said.
Carl Domino stressed his accomplishments, including portability, fighting Digital Domain in Port St. Lucie, helping bring Scripps to the county and creating jobs in his own business.
Alan Schlesinger said he had “taken out Democrats” (in Connecticut), had the best grasp of fiscal and health care issues, and will “wrap Obamacare around Murphy’s neck.”
Ilya Katz, citing his unique life experience and knowledge, said he has nothing to lose and would move to impeach Barack Obama. He would also offer “free contraceptives to Democrats”, and cited his “Chicago accent” (but different than the President’s).
Ellen Andel pointed out that she has obtained former Congressman Allen West’s endorsement, and brings the persistence and perseverance of a competitive athlete to the fray. “It is time for new leadership”, she said.
- Calvin Turnquest
- Ilya Katz
- Ellen Andel
- Fred Scheibl and Carl Domino
- Sid Dinerstein and Iris Scheibl
- Moderator Rick Kozell
- Calvin Turnquest
- Carl Domino
- Alan Schlesinger
- Ilya Katz
- Ellen Andel
- Rick Kozell and Friend