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Lucy Woods
Lucy Woods

Who won this weekend’s forum in the crowded race for the S.C. first congressional district?

Well, no one.

The forum – hosted by FreedomWorks at the Embassy Suites Hotel Convention Center in North Charleston – was notable for one reason: Somehow they managed to get all 16 candidates on a stage (even more of a feat given that S.C. Rep. Chip “Big Boy” Limehouse is one the candidates).

Questions ranged from balancing the federal budget, to minimum wage, to offshore drilling, to … yeah you’re yawning already … and so were many of the would-be contenders. In fact some candidates failed to answer the questions at all – showcasing their inexperience.

When candidate Shawn Pinkston was asked who would he pick to be a mentor in the House of Representatives, he answered Tim Scott.

Um, Scott is a Senator (hence the reason for this special election in the first place).

Pressed for an answer, the best Pinkston could come up with was Congressman Joe Wilson, because he “called out the president for lying.”

None of the three Republican House members running (Limehouse, Peter McCoy or Andy Patrick) managed to stand out.

The format of the forum proved problematic for some candidates. The moderator would first propose a question, and then choose two candidates to respond.

That prompted former S.C. Senator John Kuhn to ask the moderator to change the rules. Since the candidates didn’t know if they would be chosen to answer, they had to be prepared for every question. Kuhn asked if the moderators would tell them who the question would be directed towards, which received a snarky repl

“The point is to see if you can actually answer the questions,” Kuhn was told. “If you think this is rough wait for the Washington Post.”

Sorry Kuhn, but you just got “pwned.”

Other observations

  • McCoy repeatedly got cut off, often read from his notes
  • Former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford and Teddy Turner – arguably the two frontrunners in this race – were seated next to each other, creating obvious tension.
  • Kuhn called out Grooms and Sanford for not supporting his state house bills (and was booed by the crowd)
  • Elizabeth Moffley told attendees: “I was one of you, I still am one of you.”
  • Sanford: “My aim is not pass laws but to repeal them.” Nice line.
  • Elizabeth Moffly gets question on how it fight inflation – and somehow winds up discussing her real estate experience.
  • Chip Limehouse claimed he was responsible for Tim Scott’s success. Huh?

Who do you think won the debate? Post your thoughts in our comments section below …

Lucy Woods is a student at the University of California Los Angeles school of theater, film and television.