Published by Emma Media on Nov 21, 2018.
We chatted with Neil Sabin, VP of digital marketing at Victors & Spoils and Glen Torres, vice president of media relations at Patriots, to learn what winning, losing and a whole lot of watchery was really about in the first matchup of the 2018 midterm election debate series, sponsored by the University of New Hampshire’s Brown Campaign Institute and the nonpartisan New Hampshire Public Radio.
1. Was this more like watching the XFL versus the NY Giants/Dallas Cowboys?
AC: This debate was classic New Hampshire football. It was 21-21 at the end of regulation. It was a game that could be won and lost in the final minute. New Hampshire has that grit that these candidates would utilize if they had the opportunity to win, to be able to overcome the adversity and hit the ball right down the field, even if the chances are not great, right?
Glen: I think this first debate is the best of the bunch. This was more focused on their records, more focused on important things that the Granite State wants to see, that any candidate will have to demonstrate. So this gave voters a chance to see how these candidates really govern.
2. What a neat way to have that format!
NM: Think about what voters are going to remember. They’re going to remember to cast their ballot when they go out to the polls on Election Day.
AC: And there’s a smart way for voters to keep each candidate accountable. It’s not so much about who the governor is or who won the debate, but who is this candidate accountable to? And was that person in the best position to be accountable for his or her record?
NM: I’m totally on board with that. This is like the extra, long period of play in the Super Bowl.
3. How do the chances feel differently after this debate?
NM: There are several factors that come into play. We had seven candidates, the margin of error, seven candidates, but what really struck me was how everyone was so stiff. The candidates looked so professional and so presidential, as if they were rehearsing for a televised prime-time performance in front of millions of people. They did so far better at the debate than the pundits had anticipated.
AC: The first few debates were pretty polarized debates. A candidate wasn’t talking to most Granite Staters. But because so many people watched in the primary, that’s what people have come to expect — attack ads, a lot of heat.
Now we are seeing that, for the first time, one candidate was running against both political parties, and Trump was not part of the discussion. I think we are going to see a coming out party of independents. We have such a diverse group of people running, and the degree of moderation of their campaign is going to play a big part.
NM: This is probably the closest we’ll get to the general election. A lot of this, going forward, is going to depend on the debates, what kind of endorsements these candidates are getting. Who do they secure? Who do they get inroads with? There is just a lot of intrigue coming into the rest of the year.