Wilt and Finnegan Debate

Nov 3, 2017

District 26 incumbent delegate Republican Tony Wilt (left) and his challenger Democrat Brent Finnegan met last night in a debate. Professor Ryan Alessi (center) moderated, with news editors Madisson Haynes and Emma Korynta (right) asking questions.
Credit Christopher Clymer Kurtz

With election day nearing, Virginia’s District 26 incumbent delegate Republican Tony Wilt and his challenger Democrat Brent Finnegan met last night [Thursday, November 2] in a forum hosted by the James Madison University student newspaper The Breeze. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz filed this report.

It was a cordial debate with an audience of 200, with each candidate presenting largely unsurprising party positions on topics from abortion to gun control to health care to regulation to jobs growth.

If Tommy Moser and Katrina Gerald were any indication, the forum didn’t change anyone’s mind about who to vote for.

TOMMY MOSER: Oh no, not even close. We want to support Tony, wherever he goes.

KATRINA GERALD: I came into the debate already supporting a candidate, and Mr. Wilt did not sway me to vote for him.

Just as a sample, here is Finnegan and then Wilt on decriminalizing marijuana:

BRENT FINNEGAN: In Colorado the teen use has dropped off, it’s been regulated, they put the drug dealers out of business.

TONY WILT: I don’t mind sitting back and watching them to be able to see how they progress and see the pros and cons of what they’ve done.

In lieu of closing comments, each was invited to ask the other a question. Finnegan asked Wilt about how he would make abortion regulations like Wilt’s ultrasound bill equitable for both women and men. Wilt appeared not to have an answer.

In turn, Wilt said that Finnegan seems to demonize the wealthy and asked how he would grow the economy. Finnegan said that working families need an advocate in Richmond.