Five of the 11 Republicans running for Tom Price’s congressional seat came to Emory University on Thursday night for a debate hosted by the university’s College Republican chapter. It is probably fair to say that this was the lower tier of candidates, with none polling above five percent. Think of the Bobby Jindal-Lindsey Graham showdown in the 2015 “undercard debate” and you’ll get an idea of what this was like. Candidates David Abroms, Mohammed Ali Bhuiyan, Amy Kremer, Keith Grawert, and Kurt Wilson showed up to discuss the most important challenges facing our nation. The auditorium where the event was housed did not quite fill up, with only 15-20 attendees (which was quite possibly a 100 percent turnout rate for Republicans at Emory).
The event got off to a strange start, with Bhuyian, Kremer, and Wilson all hitting odd notes during the opening speeches. Bhuyian (who recently invited controversy after posting an anti-Semitic message on Facebook) left quickly after his, saying he had to attend to an unexplained emergency. Kremer railed on the top-performing Republican candidates in the race (Karen Handel, Dan Moody, Bob Gray, and Judson Hill-all of whom are polling at 10 percent or higher) for not attending. Wilson decided to bite the hand that fed him, saying that Emory is part of the lunacy that is ruining the country. I left after that, but cannot imagine that things improved from there.
And if you were wondering, no Emory is not inside the 6th district.
All joking aside, the Emory College Republicans deserve credit for hosting the event. They were making an effort to engage students in a very important congressional race. While none of the candidates who attended have a chance at making the runoff, they are still out there, engaging with the public and talking about issues. It’s nice to know that someone cares.