Here’s a quick analysis on how each of the New York Gubernatorial candidates did last night in terms of if they were a PR asset or PR albatross to their political parties.
Howie Hawkins, Green Party – Had a good stage presence and was able to quickly cite several examples of how the Green Party’s ideas (when implemented in other states) do in fact work. While he was very passionate, at times I thought that his passion was an Achilles heel in terms of answering basic questions. Didn’t think he converted new people to the Green Party but, he absolutely carries the torch of his party ideals well. Grade B
Charles Baron, Freedom Party – Of all the candidates on stage, Charles seemed to be the most divisive. He didn’t call upon everyone to come together to solve New York’s problems and took every opportunity to rip into Andrew Cuomo. I thought he spoke very well and could easily fire up an audience that embraces his ideals. Did he convert new people to the Freedom Party? Possibly but, I thought he could have been more tactful in his methods of attacking the other candidates. Grade C
Jimmy McMillan, the Rent is Too Damn High Party – Jimmy had the audience laughing most of the time which is great if you’re an entertainer but, not so great if you’re expecting people to take you seriously. He was very, very passionate however, it hard to understand what he was saying most of the time. He didn’t articulate any real solutions to problems New Yorkers were facing except for lowering everyone’s rent. Jimmy was very likeable and charming but, absolutely came off a “fringe candidate” and didn’t help the cause of his party. In terms of likeability, he gets a Grade A but, over all: Grade D+
Warren Redlich, the Libertarian Party – Immediate points for Warren just for the way he looked like (an exhausted, overworked American) which resonated immediately with people. Warren sacrificed one of his first questions to explain his personal history, why he’s running, and what a Libertarian is. For all other questions asked, Warren had statistics at the tip of his fingers to back up his points and he was also quick to bring up several quotes that inspired him and his candidacy. The drawback I saw with Warren is that he didn’t have a real strong stage presence, didn’t seems like someone who could get crazy about solving New York’s problems, and he did seem like someone who could be pushed around. Did he help further the ideals of his party? I think so. Grade B+
Andrew Cuomo, Democratic Party – No brainer, this guy was a pro. Very effective communicator, smooth, and Cuomo did himself a great deal of good by not acknowledging attacks by any of the other candidates. Cuomo was charming, very likeable, and spoke exceptionally well. In fact, Cuomo did these three so well that it wasn’t difficult to forget any of the actual substance of his speech. Did he help his party in this debate? He did by being solid and appearing a someone “electable.” Grade A+
Kristin Davis, Anti-Prohibition Party – Agree or disagree with her, I think Kristin Davis earned the respect of many people last night. She thoroughly prepared for every question and next to Warren Redlich, she presented the most statistics and solutions to New York’s problems. While Davis didn’t come off as overly polished, she effectively communicated her intelligence, business experience, and backbone for facing tough problems. She’s the only candidate who never went over her allotted time and charmed the crowd with several memorable humorous quips. Did she further the ideals of her party? What the hell is the Anti-Prohibition Party? Grade B+
Carl Paladino, Republican Party – In 90 minutes, Paladino barely articulated three solutions to New York’s problems and came off as severely under prepared. He seemed to be day dreaming during the debate was he was often surprised when he was called to answer questions. When Paladino did answer, he constantly waved his right hand up and down (classic body language for someone who is unfocused) like he was writing on a blackboard on speed. Paladino spent about 60% of his time going “Um, Uh, Uhh” and barely articulated any Conservative, Republican, or Tea Party beliefs in a cohesive manner. It was a PR disaster for him personally and I think he did a great disservice not only to his supporters but, his political party. In 15 years of analyzing political debates, this may have been the poorest performance I’ve ever seen by a candidate. Grade D