At the candidate forum last night at the Ashe County Courthouse between incumbent Jonathan Jordan and challenger Sue Counts for the Dist. 93 NC House seat, Jordan wanted to exhibit a relentlessly sunny disposition: Everything is just fine, he assured us, since the Republicans took over in 2011. Anything that's not quite right is entirely the fault of "previous administrations."
According to him, Republicans have a long list of achievements: Teachers are better off than they've been in decades. Taxes have been reduced so that prosperity for all is flourishing. Medicaid is being reformed (kicking 600,000 citizens off Medicaid will do wonders!). Jordan and his fellow Republicans are johnny-on-the-spot, protecting the environment. The rogue Town of Boone has been thoroughly punished and humiliated. What's not to like?
At least half of the audience, which included a sizable number of teachers, wasn't buying it.
Jordan was hammered with questions about the sorry state of education funding in North Carolina, but Jordan had his bar graph which he kept displaying. This proves, said he, that the Republicans have done more for public education in the last two years than anyone else in history. Bar graphs and statistics can prove anything, he might have added, but didn't.
Jordan also defended his vote on opening up the state to fracking. He claimed that "no wells have ever been contaminated by fracking," a sweeping claim that surprised many of the people in the courthouse. He was asked why he voted to make disclosure of fracking chemicals a crime. He said that "only a few chemicals" are used in fracking. "Mainly, it's sand and water." Many people laughed out loud at that claim.
Among the questions from the audience, there were a number of thoughtful and well informed queries directed at both candidates. But a bizarre moment was provided by a prominent Ashe County Republican Party officer. She expressed skepticism that challenger Sue Counts could possibly be a Christian. (However low you think you've sunk with contemporary Right Wing religiosity, there's always a bit lower you can go.)