Jason Wessel wrote a note on Facebook about why he’s supporting Christopher Stout, over Sam Granato. It’s a well thought out, well reasoned and well written piece, once again buttressing my opinion that the world would be a better place if Jason had a blog. Jason said I could, so; I’m re-posting it here.
In my opinion Christopher Stout is the better candidate in the race for United States Senate and I will be supporting him at the Democratic convention on Saturday for a number of reasons.
First, I have been aware of Sam Granato’s campaign for quite a while but I was not following it closely since I was sitting this year out of politics. My impression was that he is just another sacrificial lamb we Dems are lining up for slaughter. I have put my time in on those campaigns and I do understand the need for them. However, I caught an interview with Granato on KCPW a few months ago and as a Democrat, I was severely disappointed. He seemed to have no central message and I was shocked that he seemed to be bragging about only recently becoming a Democrat and that he donated money to the G.W. Bush campaign. From a strategic point of view that seemed like a pretty dumb thing to be talking about before he has secured the democratic nomination. From the point of view of someone who has spent my entire adult life trying to get good Democratic candidates elected in Utah I was disappointed that we could not find a better, more deserving candidate to run for one of the highest positions in the state and frankly, I think someone needs to put a few more years in to being a Democrat before we make them a leader of our party.
Then a close friend of mine became involved in the Christopher Stout campaign when he first announced his candidacy to underwhelming fanfare. Since I am in middle of a term of service with AmeriCorps I cannot work on a campaign for pay but I can offer advice. I was asked to sit down with Christopher Stout and spend a few hours discussing the details of putting a campaign together. I had no problem with this since I am a firm believer that having multiple candidates competing for the party nomination at convention leads to us having a stronger and better prepared candidate going into the general election. I went into the meeting with Christopher Stout with the intention of discussing the nuts and bolts of setting up a campaign. Things like establishing an advisory committee to establish policy/platform issues, appoint someone to handle financial disclosures, begin forming a staff, set up a calender with all the important dates and filing deadlines, etc. Just the basics.
What I discovered when I met Christopher was a pleasant surprise. He was a rookie candidate with no clue as to how a political campaign is organized but he was prepared on the issues like no other candidate I have ever met. He did not need to go through the usual process of policy/platform prep. He had his five core issues already set. I tried to dissuade him from making the treatment of veterans a core platform issue because it just is not a high priority issue to most Utahns. Christopher would not budge. To me, this demonstrated a candidate who entered this race based on strong personal convictions and he was not going to modify his position to accommodate a campaign strategy. I admired that.Furthermore, his knowledge of the issues extends beyond his core issues. He will discuss, in detail, any issue someone brings up which leads to my next point.
What I like the most about Christopher is that there is substance behind his words. It may be that he has not learned how to talk like a politician yet with platitudes and vague rhetoric without detail. It may be that he is a goal oriented man. On every issue he clearly defines what he sees as the problem, what his position on the issue is AND a step by step solution to the problem. I have never seen a candidate delineate not just what but also why and how while addressing issues and I find it refreshing.
Finally, I have seen both Christopher Stout and Sam Granato speak at a number of events and the differences between them are quite stark. Granato has been campaigning for nearly a year and he does not have a platform beyond vague, feel-good rhetoric. When asked specific questions about issues he falls back on broad generalized statements. For example, he is for health care reform (what does that mean?). In contrast, time and again I have seen Christopher Stout directly answers the question, provide a bit of personal insight into the issue then propose step by step what he will actually do to address the issue. A rare trait in a politician.
In conclusion, I think Christopher Stout is a superior candidate to represent Utah and the Democratic party in the United States Senate. He has demonstrated a firm grasp of the issues and has set forth a plan for how to address those issues. I ask anyone who is interested or plans on attending the convention that before you cast a delegate vote in this race to compare the websites of both Stout and Granato and to listen to both candidates speak at the convention. I believe you will find Chris Stout to be every bit as impressive as I do and you will agree that he is the better candidate.