Doherty's surprisingly strong debate performance

Over the last couple of months, more than one pundit has proclaimed that Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty - who stumbled in some early media appearances - would struggle against Democratic Congressman David Cicilline.

Well, WJAR-TV has taped the first debate of the general election season - a sitdown affair for its weekend "News Conference" show (it's available online now) - and Doherty is surprisingly strong.

He looks confident, fluid. Of course, Cicilline does, too. And the incumbent has a distinct advantage on the issues in a deep-blue state. Indeed, if I have any critique of Doherty's performance, it's that he didn't steer the debate, enough, to friendlier ground - issues of character.

He'll have to do that - on the debate stage, and in his television ads - if he's to win. But if this debate is any indication, he's allayed one of the biggest concerns about his candidacy.


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