So I just got back from the Lazarus/O’Grady debate and it was pretty much what I expected.

Both candidates agreed on most of the issues e.g. we need more economic development, we should help fix the mortgage crisis, we should protect the environment and we should be nice to somali immigrants.

In between, there were a number of jokes about big families (Cindy has 9 siblings and John has 11) and about hair- or lack of it- with Cindy Lazarus at one point offering to shave her head if that’s what it takes to be County Commissioner.

But when it came down to differentiating themselves, Cindy spoke about her 20+ years of experience and John, of course, talked about how he was the ‘endorsed’ candidate and how he would be a full-time commissioner- a hit against Cindy who says she’ll continue working with the YWCA if elected county commissioner.

At one point an obvious O’Grady supporter even got up to the microphone during the open questions segment and asked the candidates if they would serve full time as county commissioner- a question John O’Grady seemed more than prepared to answer.

There was, however, one question Mr. O’Grady wasn’t ready for- and one in which he totally dropped the ball.

The question was, basically, should there be two primary candidates in the race- a reference to the aggressive attempt by the O’Grady campaign, along with county and state party leaders, to drive Cindy Lazarus out of the race.

Cindy remarked that “we should not be punishing people and bullying people because they dare to offer themselves to the voters.”

John tried to deny having any part in the bullying process saying “this is a fight between she (sic) and the democratic party and I don’t know where I play a role in that.”

But Cindy turned right back around and let him have it: “I think it is utterly disingenuous for the endorsed candidate to operate out of party headquarters and to have the party conduct a campaign that is injurious to the process and injurious to my reputation and then say ‘it wasn’t me’.”

Listen to the Audio… [audio:]

All of Cindy’s responses to this question were met by loud applause- and rightfully so. The O’Grady campaign and the party HAVE been working very hard to bully Cindy out of this race and, in the process, to keep Franklin County’s Democratic voters from having a say in who they want as their candidate.

I was really glad to find out so many other people in the room feel the same way- hopefully they, too, will be voting for Cindy.

Overall, both candidates performed well and I think either one will make a good county commissioner. But, after seeing them both, I’m sticking with Lazarus.

  • Bryan Clark

    Visit to learn more about the Five Point Plan John articulated today. It is the only comprehensive plan released or discussed in this election.

  • Thanks- I’ll be sure to take a look.

    By the way: your boy did well today.

    Were you there?

  • Bryan Clark

    Certainly appreciate your sharing your thoughts about the debate. I obviously have a very different take. You can see more at

  • hahaa!

    So your take is O’Grady “dominated” the debate?

    Maybe you had a better seat than I did…

    because, from where I was sitting, Cindy got much more applause than John- except for his jokes.

    And Cindy actually seemed serious and concerned about the topics and the people of Franklin County- whereas John came across as overly rehearsed, especially in his closing remarks.

    I agree John did well- but he certainly didn’t dominate anything.

  • Oh- and the thing I didn’t mention in my post was his answer to the question about supporting public transportation:

    we need more parking downtown.

    Wow. Where’d that come from?

  • Bryan Clark

    Joseph —

    Its starting to sound like you’re getting talking points from Leland and company. Be that as it may, John was well-prepared and offered a strong, thoughtful vision for Franklin County. As for my seats — I was, unfortunately, in front of the Cindy supporters who booed, hissed, and heckled John throughout the debate.

  • I do not know, and have never been in contact with, anyone from the Lazarus campaign.

    And, unlike you, I am not being paid to have an opinion.

    I am just turned off by the fact that John O’Grady and the entire Democratic party machine think John DESERVES to be the nominee.

    Personally, I think the voters DESERVE the chance to choose their own nominee.

  • Nick

    Joseph is a wise man. Although I’ve never met him, I appreciate what he has to say. Go Cindy!

  • Bryan Clark

    The local Franklin County Democratic Party has elected ward leaders. Each leader is voted into office by roughly 1,500 of their fellow Democrats. They are elected for a reason — to volunteer their time to the local party and make decisions they feel are in the best interest of the local Democratic Party. Unfortunately, these are the people the Lazarus campaign has referred to as “a small group of politicians,” “party bosses,” and “the party machine.”This entire fight has never been about giving Democratic voters a choice. It is, however, about who the neighborhood leaders of the Democratic Party support in this race. And how the non-endorsed candidate has run against the party.

  • I understand that everyone in the party- local on up – is supporting O’Grady.

    But since the Republican candidates pretty much have no chance of winning the seat, this primary election is the only chance Franklin County VOTERS are going to have to cast a vote for a viable candidate.

    O’Grady is the endorsed candidate- and will probably be the primary winner- but I think he and the party are alienating a lot of voters with unneccessarily nasty tactics.

  • Nick

    As a big part of this “party machine” myself, I can attest to the fact that many of us who have “endorsed” John publicly, including some prominent names with myself among them, do not plan to vote for him in March, when we’re in the privacy of the voting booth. While he’s a nice enough fellow, many of us have felt an awful lot of pressure to follow suit and support him because of good old fashioned peer pressure. Cindy, who has been more evenhanded when seeking my support, is (IMHO) a committed Democrat who has a more firm grasp of the issues.

  • Bryan Clark

    Nick — Having sat with John for hours a day, listening to call after call for support, I can say with 100% certainty there hasn’t been a bit of pressure. Don’t throw around vague claims. Vote your conscience for endorsements and for the primary.

  • Nick

    Bryan, you are right about one thing for sure: people should vote their consciences. I know that you will will be following mine and supporting Cindy Lazarus. People should vote for the candidate of their choice, that’s for certain.

  • Lola

    I think Cindy won the debate!

  • I know in another week or so we’ll all be on the same side again, but until then- I appreciate your support Nick.

  • Lola

    Sorry about the last post. My wireless is going insane tonight.

    To be clear: I think Cindy won the debate because she seemed to think well on her feet. Hopefully the public will agree on election day.

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