Tonight marked the true start of the race for the Liberty Party vice presidential nomination. In District 15, candidates sparred in the first vice presidential debate of the season.
The only criteria was a seven percent polling cutoff, similar to the previous presidential debate, which all candidates easily made.
The following candidates were included in the debate:
- Governor Trenton Escavel of District 9
- Secretary of State Jonathan Madison of District 4
- Governor Rebecca Tarson of District 12
- Governor Bella Taylor of District 2
- Senator Alexandra West of District 1
The moderator, as always, was Press Secretary Polaris Septrix.
The first question volleyed was to Governor Bella Taylor. Septrix asked, “Governor, you have only been the chief executive of District 2 since the resignation of Governor Patton two years ago, and before that, you served as lieutenant governor for less than a year. Do you consider yourself prepared to be vice president and possibly lead the nation as president in the event of a tragedy, and how will you reassure voters who think otherwise?” Taylor responded, “Polaris, I certainly have the experience needed for this office, as well as the governorship I currently occupy. As for those who don’t think me ready, I respectfully disagree. I served for many years in Governor Hawthorne’s office and in the District Senate before running for lieutenant governor. I’ve never run for something that I know I can’t handle.”
Septrix pivoted to Senator Alexandra West for her next question. “Senator, you received instant name recognition and introduced yourself to the nation with your congressional investigation into the election fraud controversy involving President Canth. In the event of your nomination, do you believe that you will receive a fair election in the wake of what you did to investigate that scandal?” West replied, “I won’t engage in speculation of if the Conservative Party is corrupt, but I do believe that there are certainly bad eggs in there. After all, look at what we found. I’m certainly not popular with the Conservatives after that; Representative Canth won’t even look me in the face after working with me from a distance during that investigation. I’m hopeful that all the participants in this political process would abide by the tradition of a free and fair election, but I would not be shocked if something occurred to the contrary.” Septrix pressed further, “Are you saying that the Conservatives may attempt to commit election fraud again?” “As I mentioned in my response, the Conservative Party did not commit fraud, only affiliated members. If it were the party, the investigation would be ongoing. All I was saying is that there is always a possibility,” West said.
Governor Trenton Escavel was the next question recipient. “Governor Escavel, before you announced your vice presidential bid and stepped foot onto this stage, you were virtually unknown to the nation of Panem minus your home district of District 9. With such low name recognition, how do you plan to introduce yourself to voters and win the nomination?” Escavel stated, “Well first, to the voters here in District 15 and to the voters watching, my name is Trenton Escavel. I am the son of a grain farmer and a baker. I am the father of two wonderful children with my wife, Delia, and I currently have the honor of serving as Governor of District 9. Now that I’ve introduced myself, let me further explain what I plan to do. First, I plan to visit with every voter I can to explain my vision, and furthermore, I plan to listen to every voter that wants me to listen. Too often we see politicians ignoring their constituents. That isn’t the point of government. The voters are our bosses. They should be who we listen to, not to the Capitol. I hope that once voters meet me and hear of my vision of bringing accountability and responsibility back to the Capitol they will consider me and vote for me.”
Secretary Jonathan Madison was asked, “Secretary Madison, during the Everdeen administration you first served as Secretary of Defense and then served as Secretary of State. During the Canth administration, you returned to your post as Secretary of Defense. Do you think that serving under President Canth jeopardizes your chances of claiming this nomination?” “No, I do not. I did not join the Canth administration due to politics. If this were down to politics, the President and I disagree very much, and I would have easily turned this down. The reason why I took the position at the top of Defense is because the country needed me. The President needed someone with top-notch knowledge of our military, and he chose me over many other candidates of many political affiliations. I said yes because I view this as true public service. I’m not in politics for the fame, for the glory, to make history, to make money, to assemble power, to do anything of the sort. I am here to serve the people of Panem, plain and simple. I’m not here for me; I’m here for you.”
The final question went to Governor Rebecca Tarson. “Governor Tarson, you have been the Governor of District 12 since the previous governor, Gertrude Hampton, retired nine years ago. Two election cycles have passed with ample opportunity for federal office. My question is: why now?” Tarson responded, “Well, now is the time when I am ready. If you had asked me to consider a run two cycles ago, I would have said I was too inexperienced. If you had asked me last cycle, I would have said, ‘Oh, there’s so many great candidates, and I’m really happy being governor.’ Now, there’s a political situation where a Conservative has been elected president of Panem and has gone off the deep end with his scandals, which is causing the Liberty VP to run for president. Our nation needs all the help it can gets, and with the record I have, there’s no one better for the job.”
Upon the ending of the debate, focus groups were convened by The Panem Free Press. We found the following:
- Winner of the debate: Secretary of Defense Jonathan Madison (D4)
- Loser of the debate: Governor Bella Taylor (D2)
- Unexpected breakout(s) of the night: Governor Rebecca Tarson (D12) and Governor Trenton Escavel (D9)
- Stagnant candidate: Senator Alexandra West (D1)
ANALYSIS: This debate had zero bite. Despite the feisty presidential debate that preceded it, in the VP debate candidates refrained from attacks on each other, rather portraying themselves as the most viable candidate for the nomination. The clear winner was Secretary Jonathan Madison. His “I’m here for you” response was political gold and sparked a flame under the focus group we polled. Governor Bella Taylor, despite her inspiring story and quick ascendance, flopped rather hard tonight. Group members disliked her response to the experience question, saying it felt like an avoidance rather than an answer. Governor Rebecca Tarson became a crowd favorite tonight due to her straight answer and her relatability. Governor Trenton Escavel was very well discussed tonight, especially his talk about restoring “accountability and responsibility” to the government of Panem. However, one particular candidate didn’t make a splash at all: Senator Alexandra West. When we asked the group about her, very few members felt she made much of an impact at all. No one thought she moved up or down.