All eight of the Congressional 8th District of California candidates who RSVP appeared
for the Thursday night Congressional debate. They included:
Gregg Imus, former Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Tim Donnelly
Ryan McEachron, Mayor of the City of Victorville
Angela Valles, City Councilwoman for the City of Victorville
Anthony Adams, former Assemblyman
Joseph Napolitano, Helendale, Small business owner
Dr. George Craig, M.D., Apple Valley practice
John Pinkerton, Pinon Hills, Counselor at Silverado High School
William "Bill" Jensen, former Mayor of Hesperia.
Invited candidates who apparently do not take Barstow's voters seriously and
who failed to present themselves at the debate were:
Jackie Conaway, declined
Phil Liberatore, declined
Brad Mitzelfelt, never responded
Paul Cook, never responded
Dennis Albertsen, never responded
A few of the questions originated from the hosts, the Forerunner Christian
Fellowship and The Patriot Forum, a nonpartisan and Constitution promotional organization;
but the majority of questions were from the public who submitted question cards prior to the
In its prior and after articles on the debate, the Barstow Desert
Dispatch newspaper noted that the public's questions were being sorted by The Patriot Forum,
insinuating that something was perhaps inappropriate.
The public's questions were compiled without bias as to
topic, and when similar, as there were many duplicate questions on jobs, the economy, and the budget,
they were combined so as not to have repetitive questions. As many questions as possible
were given within the given time allowance. Each of the 8 candidates was given 1-minute to
answer each question with a candidate's option of a 30-second rebuttal after all candidates had
responded to a question.
With 8 candidates and a 1-minute response time, only about 10 questions
could be squeezed into the 2-hour debate program after the introductions, debate rules,
questions, answers, rebuttals, and summations.
Angle's moderating tightly followed a preset order of decorum that was
preprinted on handouts and given to each member of the public as they entered the auditorium.
At one early point in the debate, the mostly conservative audience could be
heard responding negatively to a response given by Democrat candidate John Pinkerton. Moderator
Sharron Angle immediately admonished the audience that she was not tolerating anything but
respect for the personal opinions of the candidates. During the remainder of the debate,
the audience appeared respectful.
After the debate, all of the attending candidates appeared very pleased
in the manner in which the debate was conducted.
During an impromptu lunch with Sharron Angle the following day, a
Community Alliance representative learned that the Reno, Nevada resident flew down to
moderate a debate for the first time in her life; though she has participated in many debates
as a candidate, she had never moderated one. She volunteered her services for the Barstow
debate and was not compensated for her time.
Angle served for many years in the Nevada legislature and was
the subject of many vicious attacks in her unsuccessful attempt to unseat Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid in 2010. She was hammered by her opponents as a racist for her promotion of
tighter borders and her stance against preferential entitlements to undocumented immigrants.
Knowing first hand the unfairness of how some debates can be slanted,
Angle appeared to make special efforts for fairness, such as a lottery for seating placement
and order of candidate responses. All candidates were asked the same questions.
Angle volunteered moderating a second debate the following night in
Victorville before returning to Reno.
At that second debate, three additional candidates
attended apparently believing that a far larger audience would be attending due to the
surrounding population base. The Victorville event, held at The First Assembly of God
church (that's the big one adjacent the east side of the I-15) had over 100 less in the audience.
A special salute is due to Democrat candidate John Pinkerton who joined
the debate knowing that he would likely be the lone Democrat in a candidate panel comprising
of 6 Republicans and 1 undeclared party candidate (Anthony Adams).