By Alex Malm ’17
Since May of 2015 Presidential candidates have come to Rindge to have their voices heard during this election cycle. Whether it was Bernie Sanders filling the Field House or Jim Gilmore with only a few people in the Fitzwater TV studio, candidates have been able to have their message heard in a civil setting.
When it comes to local politics it is much the same. Since 2010, Franklin Pierce University and the Monadnock Ledger Transcript have hosted the Monadnock Debates. This year’s moderators included political science professor, Dr. Christina Cliff, Associate Director of Student Involvement Derek Scalia, and Heather McKernon, the publisher for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.
Cliff said, “[I prepared for moderating] by reviewing the candidates’ websites, their answers given in other debates or forums, and researching those issues that are particularly relevant to Granite Staters – social security, the opioid crisis, the Northern Pass project, etc. I also watched and researched other debate moderators to observe best practices.”
Seeing all candidates face to face is something that does not happen in every state. Cliff said, “One of the big differences between Idaho and New Hampshire’s election environment – folks in New Hampshire expect to be able to see and engage in person with candidates for all offices, whereas in Idaho, folks don’t generally get exposed to the ‘retail’ politics that are so prevalent here.”
One twist in the action came from the first debate when seven candidates confirmed attendance, but only two candidates showed for the first Monadnock debates for the Republican nomination for U.S. House Rep District 2.
The two candidates present were author Andy Smith and State Rep. Eric Esteves, who dueled it out in hopes of facing the incumbent Anne Kuster (D) for the seat in the general election. Jim Lawrence, who did not debate at FPU, earned the nomination for the Republican Party during the state primary on September 13.
The second Monadnock Debate on September 6 was for the democrats. Lee Nyquist faced off against Jeanne Dietsche. Nyquist has been a town moderator for over 20 years in New Boston, and Dietsche is an entrepreneur in the robotics field. Nyquist came out victorious winning over 50 percent of the democratic nomination for NH Senate District 9.