by Jim Nintzel
In advance of the CNN debate coming up in Mesa tomorrow, Republican presidential candidates on the Feb. 28 Arizona primary ballot gathered over the weekend for two televised debates among the lesser-known contenders, including Al "Dick" Perry, Sarah Gonzales, Peter "Simon" Bollander, Kip Dean, Donald Benjamin, Charles Skelley and Jim Terr.
Award-winning journalist Dave Maass of San Diego CityBeat flew into Tucson to moderate the Tucson Weekly/Access Tucson/Project White House Dark Horse Republican Presidential Candidate Twitter Debate 2012. He was joined by University of Arizona journalism student Amanda Hurley.
A huge thanks to everyone who helped with the debates, from the candidates to Lisa Horner and the great staff at Access Tucson, who spent a great deal of time making sure that Sunday's forum went off without a hitch. You really ought to buy a ticket to their upcoming shindig celebrating free speech at the Tucson Museum of Art!
We're also excited to announce that tomorrow, we're going to announce the Tucson Weekly presidential primary endorsements and the winners of Project White House 2012!
Below the cut: The first Project White House debate.
As we reported about the first debate earlier this week:
Revelations that Mitt Romney's Arizona committee co-chairman was involved in a clandestine gay romance threw Saturday's presidential debate into disarray, as White House hopefuls argued—in often graphic terms—the social acceptability of same-sex relationships.
The debate, which featured nine of the 23 candidates that will appear on Arizona ballots, was the first of three televised debates to take place in the Grand Canyon State prior to the Feb. 28 presidential preference election. For the first question, debate organizers raised the subject of Republican Congressional candidate and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu—a Tea Party favorite deeply involved in Romney's statewide campaign—who came out as gay during a press conference earlier in the day. Days earlier, the Phoenix New Times reported allegations that Babeu had threatened to have an ex-boyfriend deported over rumors he was spreading on the internet.