Democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Napolitano took some symbolic punches to the face last night from opponents.
But if the front-runner looked through swollen eyelids, she perhaps saw that she converted some in the audience after taking on three aggressive opponents at a debate here. It was sponsored by the Tucson Citizen and the Goldwater Institute.
Three of four undecided voters selected at random by a reporter at the debate said they would likely vote for Napolitano.
Blake Mayes, 23, a University of Arizona law student, said GOP candidate Matt Salmon muddled his message.
"The only way to take votes away from Matt Salmon without throwing your vote away is to vote for Napolitano," Mayes said.
Olivia Chin, 23, another law student, who attended with Mayes, said pretty much the same thing: "I would vote for Janet because I felt like Matt Salmon didn't back up what he was saying."
While the Salmon campaign might not worry about such a small, unscientific survey, undecided voter Kara Downey might give the campaign some insight into themes to consider.
"Most recent Republican administrations have brought embarrassment and a huge budget deficit," said Downey, 38, a manager of environmental health and safety at an electrical power cooperative.
She found Salmon less than candid for his attack on Napolitano for running for governor while on the public payroll as attorney general. "He did the same thing when he was in Congress and running for re-election," Downey said.
Susan McGinley, a UA science writer, said she was impressed with all the candidates and hadn't made up her mind after the debate.
"It was such a good forum that there are a lot of issues I have to sit down and sort out."