May 7, 2004: Headlines: COS - Liberia: Politics: Election2004 - McNally: Norwich Bulletin: RPCV Shaun McNally debates opponent for Congressional Seat

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Liberia: Special Report: Liberia RPCV Shaun McNally, Candidate for Congress in Connecticut: May 7, 2004: Headlines: COS - Liberia: Politics: Election2004 - McNally: Norwich Bulletin: RPCV Shaun McNally debates opponent for Congressional Seat

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RPCV Shaun McNally debates opponent for Congressional Seat

RPCV Shaun McNally debates opponent for Congressional Seat

RPCV Shaun McNally debates opponent for Congressional Seat

Sullivan, McNally debate issues

Norwich Bulletin

NEW LONDON -- On the major issues such as education, Roe v. Wade, energy and the war with Iraq, Democratic congressional hopefuls James Sullivan of Norwich and Shaun McNally of Deep River agree more often than they disagree.

"There's not much disagreement between them on the issues at all," said John Lavangie, chairman of the Norwich Board of Education. "In fact, there's not a lot of difference between them at all."

Sullivan and McNally squared off in a one-hour debate Friday night at Connecticut College, fielding more than a dozen questions from an audience of about 70, mostly college students.

"I was very impressed with both of them," said Joel Scata of Lebanon, 20, a sophomore studying government and history. "But if I had to choose...I'd probably back Mr. McNally. His views on an energy policy are a lot like mine."

However, as treasurer of the Connecticut College Democrats, Scata said he was also impressed with Sullivan's ability to connect with basic Democratic principles, and in particular his remarks supporting unions and working family issues.

Friday's debate was the first formal debate between the two Democrats, and was held just three days before the 2nd Congressional District Convention Monday night in Montville. Sullivan, by virtue of his support among elected state and local leaders, is expected to easily win the convention's endorsement. McNally, however, has already initiated a petitioning drive to force an August primary to determine which of the two will challenge two-term incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons in November.

"I think either one of them could give Simmons a strong race," said Lavangie, who has known both McNally and Sullivan for years. "But because there isn't much difference between them, it is going to come down to whoever is more active in getting voters out to the polls in August. Whoever does that has the advantage."

As they have throughout their campaigns, neither Sullivan nor McNally attempted to define themselves or their candidacies by comparing themselves to each other, frequently acknowledging how they agreed on the issues.

The only disagreement that did arise centered on campaign fundraising, with McNally reiterating his position of refusing to accept any special interest money.

"I take money from labor unions," Sullivan said. "Shaun may consider that special interest money. I consider that very special interest money."

"I will gladly take money from union individuals," McNally countered, "but not from their PACs. Special interests are corrupting our Democracy."

Most of the evening, however, was spent with McNally and Sullivan focusing their responses to questions by contrasting themselves to Simmons. The sharpest criticism came in response to a question about foreign policy, and how their own experiences made them a better candidate than Simmons considering his military and intelligence community background.

"I look forward to the day when a Peace Corp guy from West Africa goes up against a CIA agent from Vietnam to debate foreign policy," McNally said.

"He has all that expertise, and because of it people in this district have given him a free ride these last three years on issues like education and the economy," Sullivan said. "What I want to know is, where was that expertise? He was ambivalent on the war with Iraq until (Vice President) Dick Cheney came here and raised $150,000 for his re-election two years ago. Where was that expertise?"

The debate was co-sponsored by the Connecticut College Democrats, the Connecticut Young Democrats and Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century.

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Story Source: Norwich Bulletin

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Liberia; Politics; Election2004 - McNally



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