With the exception of AJC columnist/reporter Jim Galloway, who posed relevant and well composed questions, the Atlanta Press Club gubernatorial debate was a patchwork of mediocre questions and answers with a format that had all the excitement of a “Golden Girls” rerun.

Governor Deal continued his streak as “best debater” but had little to debate in Sunday’s contest. Jason Carter turned in a greatly improved performance, but continued to speak in a staccato-type manner that seemed a bit sheepish in the first half of the debate. Libertarian Andrew Hunt may have scored the most points by staying on target in his attacks on Governor Nathan Deal and with his ability to have his opponents refer to him deferentially as “Dr. Hunt” in several of their responses.

The well-intended Press Club needs to rethink its format for these dreadfully boring debates. Debates are usually scored based on what we term “clash.” But the format kept clash from occurring. Had Galloway been missing from the panel, it’s questionable if the most controversial/interesting issues in the campaign would have ever been addressed.

Carter’s passion is clearly education because only questions related to education in the second half of the debate brought real fire from the Democratic nominee. And that rescued Carter from his rather halting delivery in the first half of the debate. 

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