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Democratic Chairman Tells La Mesans: Debate Won’t Alter Election Outcome

Jess Durfee, county party chairman, said it's too early to know who won or lost the debate.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the chairman of the county Democratic Party said Wednesday night that he didn’t think either Mitt Romney or President Obama won the first debate.

“It’s a back and forth,” said the chairman, Jess Durfee, answering questions after a debate viewing party attended by 240 at the La Mesa Community Center.

“We’re gonna hear over the next 24 hours what the talking heads have to say,” he said. “But the bottom line is, historically, we do not see debates cause a significant change in the outcome of the elections. Unless there’s a gaffe—but I think it’s safe to say that neither of them had a huge gaffe.”

Reflecting recent voter registration numbers showing a climb in county Democrats, La Mesa Democrats came out in full force to watch the presidential debate hosted by the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club.

Viewing the coverage on MSNBC, the crowd understandably cheered at declarations made by Obama and jeered at assertions offered by former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

After the debate, Durfee congratulated those in attendance, calling the number of people in the crowd “amazing,” and saying it was about twice the number that were at the party’s big campaign headquarters. Those in attendance included Rep. Susan Davis, who represents La Mesa and the 53rd District in the House of Representatives.

Also present were local candidates, including Patrick Dean, seeking a seat on the La Mesa City Council; Jay Steiger, running for La Mesa-Spring Valley School District board; and Lori Kern, vying for Helix Water District board.

Durfee also praised the future of the Democratic Party in La Mesa and in San Diego County, referencing a recent report that Dems now outnumber GOPers in the county by around 4,000 registered voters.

That aligns with the numbers in La Mesa as well, as Democrats outnumber Republicans 11,640 to 10,380—with a total of 30,995 eligible to vote.

Durfee also spoke about important propositions on the ballot for Democrats, including advocating a “no” vote on Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protect” initiative. The passed, the proposition would:

  • Ban both corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates
  • Ban contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them
  • Ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics

“[Prop. 32] is a manipulative, underhanded scheme to unfund Democrats, so that the Republicans will have all the money in the world to do what they want with,” Durfee said. “They can’t win in the ballot box, they can’t win on registrations, so this is what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to win by buying elections and eliminate our ability to defend ourselves.”

Durfee also spoke to La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch, and reiterated that it’s too early to tell who won or lost the debate.

“You can’t just listen to the debate, you kind of have to see what the talking heads say,” he said. “What we see and what others see it always changes, and so you have to wait about 36 hours to see how it’s being interpreted. A good example is John Kerry.

“Everyone assumed he won both of the debates in 2004 against George Bush, and Bush got re-elected. So the impact as I was saying is usually negligible, unless someone makes a mistake, and it has to be pretty severe at that.”

Durfee’s counterpart, Tony Krvaric, chairman of the Republican Party of San Diego County, disagreed, saying in a statement that Romney clearly won the debate.

"Governor Romney needed to draw clear contrasts to President Obama tonight, and on that point he succeeded,” said Krvaric. "However, more importantly Governor Romney not only stayed on offense during the entire debate, but he came armed with facts and figures to defend his positions. Other than his opening and closing statements - which were neatly scripted - the president was on defense and stumbled during the debate, seemingly longing for his teleprompter."

However, Durfee said he feels confident that the Obama ticket will prevail.

“What you have to do, in any election, is just create doubt, especially in a race as important as president of the United States,” he said.

“I think that’s the good thing about Barack Obama. His favorabilities are very high. People know him. And if you look at the polling on how he is on different issues—whether it’s the economy, creating jobs, all of those things—they are more confident in the president than Romney. And so I think that sort of says what direction they are going to go in unless that changes in the next few weeks, and I don’t see that happening.”

Patch hosted a viewing party in downtown San Diego, featuring a photo gallery and video interviews with many invited guests. Check out the story to see who our readers think won the debate.

Beeswax October 04, 2012 at 05:26 PM
The President did not stumble and was not defensive. That is a very inaccurate portrayal of the way he conducted himself. He was calm and measured. I think Obama tried too hard to not seem defensive or overly aggressive and instead came across as too passive. That's why Romney "won" this debate even though he seemed smirky and anxious at times. I was very disappointed that Romney was allowed to get away with some of the blatant misrepresentations that he did (like green energy subsidies) and that the president did not nail him on his tax reform plan, which if we are going to be honest, is not reform at all. All in all, it was not a very interesting debate and I didn't hear one thing from either side that I haven't heard a dozen times before.
Kevin George October 04, 2012 at 07:19 PM
“You can’t just listen to the debate, you kind of have to see what the talking heads say," Really? What happened to independent thinking?
Things I Learned October 04, 2012 at 08:09 PM
"...debate watchers in California split on who they trust more on the economy, a significant moral victory for Romney. Even more importantly — particularly in what is considered a ‘Blue’ state, where not surprisingly significantly more Democrats watched the debate than Republicans — it was striking that 48% thought Romney was the clear winner. That’s according to a KPIX-TV CBS 5 poll taken right after the debate, which found only 34% of Golden State debate watchers actually believed Obama won. Even in the San Francisco Bay Area, debate watchers saw Romney as a narrow winner, according to the poll which was conducted for CBS 5 by the firm SurveyUSA. Debate watchers in Greater Los Angeles, the Central Valley and the Inland Empire all scored it for Romney, the poll data showed. In fact, African Americans were the only demographic group in California to see Obama as a winner — and only narrowly, the CBS 5 poll found. Whites, Hispanics and Asians all viewed Romney as the clear winner, according to the poll results. Among other demographic breakdowns, men by 24 points and middle-income viewers by 27 points saw Romney as the clear winner. Only younger Californians, those age 18 to 34, saw the debate as a draw. Viewers age 35 and over all said Romney won...." http://snipurl.com/25738s4
Janet Mercer-Grey October 04, 2012 at 08:18 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a6YdNmK77k
Timothy J. Taylor October 05, 2012 at 02:47 PM
I think Mr. Romney was the more aggressive debater, which would be great if this were tryouts for an all-star debate team. It has also been pointed out by many independent fact checkers that Mr. Romney stretched the truth more, and more often than did the President; and in my humble observation, presented himself (hat in hand) very differently than the "f#$! the 47%" guy of a couple of weeks ago. The President, while seeming a little distracted, was consistent. I don't know folks...you tell me!
Komfort October 05, 2012 at 03:01 PM
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/10/04/Top-Five-Obama-Debate-Lies?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BreitbartFeed+%28Breitbart+Feed%29
Things I Learned October 05, 2012 at 03:46 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owzhYNcd4OM
Jimmy Sanders October 05, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Durable goods drop worst since recession http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/27/us-usa-economy-durables-idUSBRE88Q0S720120927
Stuart Strenger October 05, 2012 at 06:06 PM
How come the story didn't mention that this was the monthly meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club? I'll mention it: this was the October meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club! Come see us next month on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 7:00 pm, at the La Mesa Community Center on Memorial Drive.
Jimmy Sanders October 05, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Communist Party endorses Barack Obama. Works with AFL-CIO to reelect President Obama. http://www.cpusa.org/12-days-to-go-the-election-depends-on-you/ http://www.examiner.com/article/communist-party-endorses-barack-obama-for-re-election
Craig Maxwell October 05, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Let's see, Obama has endorsements from Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and, now (surprise, surprise...) the CPUSA.
Beeswax October 05, 2012 at 09:39 PM
And GOProud endorsed Mitt Romney. So what?
Jimmy Sanders October 05, 2012 at 10:37 PM
As long as you don't mind your freedom and private property being subject to the decisions of progressive elected and appointed officials-no problem!
Craig Maxwell October 05, 2012 at 10:48 PM
(And GOProud would have what in common with the other three?)

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