In 2010, I was very humbled to receive the below endorsement from the Lehigh Valley’s Express-Times newspaper following a debate with two Republocrats. You can view the article here as a PDF, or visit YouTube to watch the debate here if you like. It was a lot of fun!
“Jake Towne started his congressional campaign more than a year ago on a shoestring budget and an idea — that a straightforward, third-party message could resonate in the Lehigh Valley, especially if the Republican and Democrat got into a divisive fight over which major-party candidate should represent the politically diverse 15th District.
We’re disappointed to see Towne’s independent candidacy hasn’t gained a lot of traction. He’s still in single digits in the polls.
Yet Towne is the best choice in this race, and we enthusiastically endorse his candidacy. He pledges to set a high ethical standard. He disdains the garbage passing as dialogue on the airwaves.
And he’s for real.
Republican incumbent Charlie Dent has done a credible job, but we need a break from mainstream Republican politics that caused the nation to rebel and elect Barack Obama in 2008. Democrat John Callahan has put together a defensible record as mayor of Bethlehem, but his approach in this race is less than inspiring.
We believe both men are capable of representing the Lehigh Valley, but we also feel we’re being played for suckers in this million-dollar investment in attack ads — you know, the ones that call someone a “disaster” or tax-raise worshipper or a George Bush clone.
We’re tired of the same old crap.
Finally, when The Express-Times’ editorial board had a chance to prod and observe the candidates at Monday’s Debate at the State Theatre — and after examining their records — we concluded, simply, that Towne is more than just a viable alternative. His platform is somewhat libertarian, ardently constitutional, fiscally conservative, socially live-and-let-live, and radically pointed in areas in which we wanted to hear real answers — such as the need to end nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. He is a member of the local Tea Party group, but is not a Tea Party candidate.
Like most candidates, he puts job creation and deficit-cutting at the top of his list. Unlike other members of Congress, he would be free to pursue and vote on those issues without having to check his campaign-supporter list. His assessment of the “two-headed, one-party system” we operate under rings true.
On some issues, he’s closer to Republicans, such as extending the Bush tax cuts, opposing the health care bill, opposing restrictions on gun ownership, redirecting the military to defend our borders. On others, he’s closer to Democrats, such as supporting a woman’s right to have an abortion, allowing gay marriage, eliminating income taxes for households making under $41,000, and eliminating the “Halliburton Loophole” so states such as Pennsylvania can regulate natural gas drilling via the Safe Water Drinking Act.
On other issues — phasing out the “War on Drugs,” questioning the loss of civil liberties under the Patriot Act, pledging to serve two terms, refusing to enlist in federal health care and pension plans — he’s distancing himself from the status quo and setting an example of independence that many people would like to see in their elected representatives.
As a third-party candidate with libertarian leanings, coming out of nowhere, accepting no big political-action-committee contributions, Towne faces a public as wary of newcomers as it is weary of the major party candidates. And that’s a fair suspicion. Towne, who grew up and lives in the Nazareth area, has worked as a chemical engineer in this country and China, and is involved in his community. He’s articulate and, when given the chance, has injected energy and dimension into the 15th District debate.
Callahan and Dent aren’t spending much time or money worrying about Towne. Based on his well-run campaign and his embodiment of qualities people say they want in a congressman, maybe they should be.
We think voters should send a strong message about change — including independence from special interests and typical Washington gamesmanship — by electing a candidate with a steely populist streak.
We think Jake Towne can do the job.”
A summary of the debate written by my campaign is below or viewable here by anyone interested.
Independent congressional candidate Jake Towne claimed a clear victory at the “Debate at the State” – held and co-sponsored by Easton’s historic and beautiful State Theatre. The Express Times was the main sponsor, and is commended by the campaign for its commitment to hear all candidates.
When Towne challenged Mr. Dent on the constitutionality of his support of the War on Terror and the PATRIOT Act’s civil liberty violations, the incumbent had no coherent response and the 20-year career politician pitifully resorted to accusing Towne as believing in 9/11 conspiracies, a complete and utter lie. Towne also challenged Mr. Callahan on HIS unflagging support of the unconstitutional War on Terror and endless nation-building.
Towne’s closing statement was met with by far the most applause, which is quite significant since most of the crowd were not previous supporters and were converted by the debate. While the Republocrat candidates were busy with negative mudslinging, Towne focused on offering solutions to the problems the country faces.
The debate will air on Saturday, October 30th on WFMZ-TV, Channel 69. Watch footage from the Express Times Debate below, and also from the previous WFMZ debate here. (Photo courtesy Sue Beyer/Express Times)
Towne asking Mr. Callahan to pledge to take a paycut and give up the congressional perks. When Mr. Callahan first attempted to dodge the question, snickering from the crowd led him to address the question… and say he would think it over. (below left) Towne asking Mr. Callahan why he supports the endless and unconstitutional War on Terror and nation-building. (below right)
To Towne’s delight, Mr. Callahan asked him a question on the federal department of education. (Below left) Towne outlines his stance to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and highlights the contrast on bailouts. (Below right)
Jake takes a moment to state his stance on Cap and Trade and highlighted hydraulic fracturing as the key environmental risk to the district. Read his solutions with hydraulic fracturing here. (Below left) All candidates share their stances on jobs. See Jake’s plank here. (Below right)
All candidates are asked a question about troop withdrawal. Only Towne answers the question while Mr. Dent and Mr. Callahan mudsling at the expense of our veterans. Only Towne has published a veterans plank. (Below left) Towne answers a question on healthcare. (Below right)
Lastly, all candidates are asked a question about negative campaigning. True to form, Mr. Callahan and Mr. Dent answer by mudslinging, while Jake responds by saying, “I think you see so much negative campaigning because they have no new ideas.” Jake outlines his “Our Open Office” idea. (video)