Local reaction: Presidential debate disgusted both sides

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 10, 2016

LaGRANGE – The second presidential debate met with mixed responses Sunday night, with many polls so close that if the election were held today there would be a runoff.

CNN’s poll listed Hillary Clinton as the winner while USA Today’s online poll claimed Donald Trump won the debate. In Troup County, local party leaders were hoping for a issue-driven debate, and both were disappointed.

While the issues were touched on, personal attacks were still prevalent in Sunday’s debate. The candidates answered questions on a variety of issues both political and personal, ranging from the current situation in Syria to clean energy to Clinton’s handling of classified e-mails to the tape containing explicit remarks by Trump that was leaked on Friday.

“I think that it is sad that we have two people running for president, and we keep talking about what happened 11 years, 20 years, 30 years ago,” said Troup County Republican party Chairman Peter Alford. “Instead (of the issues), all we keep talking about is their personal lives.”

A representative from the Troup County Democratic party expressed similar frustration with the debate.

“They talked more about each other than the issues,” said Troup County Democratic party Chairman Jerome Alford, who previously expressed a desire to learn about both candidates’ platforms. “… A lot of things (Trump) doesn’t lay out because they are just attacking each other.”

Despite the divisiveness of the debate, local party leaders do not believe that the debate will change voters’ minds at this point in the race.

“I don’t think that debate changed one person’s mind,” said Peter Alford. “It just disgusted everyone with the whole process.”

The local Democratic party chairman did raise concerns, however, about Trump’s promise late in the debate to hire someone to make sure that Clinton would go to jail if he is elected.

“Anytime you say you are going to send someone to jail, you have already appointed yourself judge, jury, and executioner,” said Jerome Alford, who formerly investigated internal affairs as part of his career with the Marines and the Georgia State Patrol. “… If I go in there with any preconceptions (about what I’m going to find), I’m not going to do a good job.”

The final debate is scheduled to take place at the University of Nevada on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. Chris Wallace of Fox News is expected to moderate. The final deadline to register to vote in Georgia is Tuesday. You can register online at https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov/GAOLVR/.

By Alicia B. Hill

Daily News Correspondent