Fresno Mayoral Debate Preview

October 22, 2008 7:18:58 PM PDT
The latest Exclusive Action News Poll showed nine-percent of voters were still undecided. So this debate 13-days before the election was critical to both Ashley Swearengin and Henry T-Perea.A pre-debate coin flip determined who would receive ... the first question. Henry T-Perea and Ashley Swearengin both see public safety as their top priority but they sparred on other issues like utility rates.

Henry T. Perea said, "My opponent has been talking about the fact that we've raised taxes at City Hall to hide the fact that she supported increasing utility rates that the consumers are paying today."

Ashley Swearengin said, "My opponent's campaign is just filled with distortion of what is really the case. The fact is I was a citizen on the Utility Commission and we looked through every budget."

During these lean economic times, Swearengin believes she is a better choice.

"The fact remains the next mayor is probably looking at midyear budget cuts upon year one and tightening the belt across City Hall,. That's why I think its important that someone with experience in bringing people together, finding creative solutions."

"We are both coming in with fresh perspectives, new ideas. The difference is I've had the experience of actually turning a good idea into a concrete vision into something real like downtown housing, renewable energy."

Swearengin held a 5-point lead in the latest Exclusive Action News Poll but says her campaign paid for its own poll.

"Last week we released our polling data and it showed me 18-points ahead but we're fighting hard every day."

"I think at the end of the day people are going to have to look down and weigh each candidate and see who has the real experience to lead our city into the 21st century."

ABC-30 Political Analyst Tony Capozzi says both sides were very effective. He adds with nine-percent of the voters undecided this election will soon get ugly.

Tony Capozzi said, "Each candidate has to expand their base. hopefully by doing that, I think each one thinks by criticizing the other and pointing out the differences that will expand their base. So we're going to see alot of negative ads on TV."

And you can watch the debate between Ashley Swearengin and Henry T-Perea this Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. here on abc30.

Warren moderated the debate and we saw some good exchanges.

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