Virginia Senate Debate

By Sarah Prescott

On Thursday, October 20th Luke Wachob, Helen Shibut and I attended a local Tea Party debate held for candidates for Senate from Virginia. Instead of covering what each candidate said, I’m going to write about each candidate’s body language non-verbal communication skills. Kevin Chisholm, E.W. Jackson, David McCormick, and Tim Donner were all present to debate current issues and to convince the audience why each one thought he should be Virginia’s next Senator. The debate began with each candidate giving an opening statement where they were free to say whatever they chose to.                
Kevin Chisholm began the evening and admitted to reading part of his opening statement from his notes because he was “a little nervous.” The opening statement was the beginning of a night full of blunt honesty from Chisholm. He was the only non-Republican candidate present, which made his evening a little challenging. Throughout the debate Kevin leaned far back in his chair. He often looked extremely uncomfortable. He also seemed unprepared for many of the questions that were asked. He did not act like a typical Washington politician. When confronted with difficult questions, he often said he felt he would have to speak with an expert on the subject before making a judgment. Though some people in the room seemed turned off by that answer (especially the second or third time around), it definitely made him seem less arrogant in comparison with the other candidates.
                The second candidate we were introduced to was E.W. Jackson. If I could sum up E.W. Jackson with one word it would be passionate. From the moment he advanced confidently to the podium to give his opening statement to the moment he stood up and leaned over the table to give his closing statement, he voice was filled with passion. Jackson’s diction was neither watered-down and simple nor overly eloquent. Although he said some very provocative things, such as “we should profile” (when discussing border security), he did so in such a way that received applause from many of Tea Party members present in the audience.
                David McCormick seemed to me to be a classic Republican candidate. If that is what the tea party members want, than I think he would be a good choice. In fact, while looking back at my notes, it is almost difficult for me to picture his face. He seemed to me to be very forgettable. He constantly referred to “kicking out Obama”. I wonder if he realized that he was running for VA Senate not the presidency. 
               Tim Donner, who was seated on the very end of the table, looked stern and almost angry when he was not speaking. When he did speak, he used very effective language. I enjoyed the tone of his voice and the diction he used. He also used humor now and then, which everyone seemed to appreciate. Tim Donner commanded attention when he spoke and used every bit of his speaking time on stage to share what he wanted to do to change Washington.

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