Bay State Showdown: 2006

03 October 2006

Second Gubernatorial Debate Tonight


To Get Ahead, Healey Must Improve Performance

To Kerry Healey's campaign, there should be no mystery: their gubernatorial candidate simply must improve her debate performance tonight if she is to have any chance of overtaking Democrat Deval Patrick in the polls.

But so far, independent candidate Christy Mihos has created such a noisy sideshow that Patrick has been all but forgotten in recent days. Strangely quiet after the primary, he either believes he can coast to victory, or has already run out of things to say.

With Patrick as a still- unknown presence in Bay State politics, whether he is truly up to the rigors of campaigning, much less governing, is not yet known.

In the last debate, however, Patrick was content to sit back and watch as attack dog Mihos tore Healey apart in a way that many saw as unreasonable. Meanwhile, when Kerry could get a word in, she didn't project her voice well enough and seemed somewhat uncomfortable in the room.

This time, Healey must show authority and confidence, while at the same time not being afraid to go on the attack a bit more. She'll have to focus on Patrick more and ignore the angry rantings of the untrustworthy Mihos.

Yes, the pressure's on and Healey simply must deliver a home run tonight in order to keep this race competitive. Otherwise, Patrick could very well run way with a lead that proves impossible to overcome, simply by letting Mihos do his dirty work.

From the Boston Herald's Kimberly Atkins:

Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey steps onto the debate stage tonight seeking to keep front-running Democratic gubernatorial rival Deval Patrick in her sights - and to stay out of independent Christy Mihos’ target range.

“It’s going to be great,” she told reporters at a press conference at her campaign headquarters yesterday. “It’s going to be great.”

The second clash of the general election campaign - this one in Springfield tonight - is Healey’s chance to rebound from last week’s Herald-Fox 25 debte, during which she was hounded by Mihos even as she sought to ignore him.

Healey has spent the week pounding away at Patrick with TV ads and press conferences essentially labeling him a tax-and-spend liberal.

She has said that she considers the election a two-person race and suggested last week that a one-on-one debate against Patrick would help diffuse some of the “noise” of a multicandidate exchange.

But Mihos as well as Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross will be on the stage at American International College tonight.

As polls show her trailing Patrick by double-digit numbers, Healey said her focus is going to be pointing out the issues where she and Patrick differ, including taxes and spending plans - in addition to showing voters that she’s more than Gov. Mitt Romney’s lieutenant.

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Debate photo: pool coverage


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