The first Lexington mayor's forum featured the mayor, vice mayor and a former mayor taking shots at one another, and a fourth candidate making accusations of widespread public corruption.
And the whole world was (potentially) watching.
The Awesome Issues forum, sponsored by the University of Kentucky's Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, was held in a small space in a technology incubator on Main Street but was available on Facebook, Twitter, and video and word blogs.
The three major candidates — Mayor Jim Newberry, Vice Mayor Jim Gray and former Mayor Teresa Isaac — found several areas where they could agree: economic development and jobs are important, they said, and young people, who were more likely to be following the high-tech forum, should be given more consideration in the affairs of the city.
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But it wasn't a lovefest, especially between Newberry and Gray. Consider CentrePointe:
Gray seldom passed up a chance to mention the stalled development that turned a downtown block of old buildings into a empty, grass-covered lot. He blames Newberry for that. On Thursday night, he called what has happened on the block "a failure of vision."
Newberry responded that CentrePointe was a private project over which local government had limited control as long as rules were followed.
Then, in an obvious reply to Gray, he said: "I think it is highly inappropriate for government officials to be opposing a lawful project simply because they don't like who's doing it or what it looks like."
Newberry also said there had been "a lot of misinformation" about CentrePointe, but he didn't go into details.
Isaac took the middle ground. She noted that CentrePointe is a private project, "but because it is in the heart of the city, we all have an interest in what goes on there."
Newberry and Gray also sparred over the handling of a spending scandal at Blue Grass Airport.
Gray, who was the first to call for an audit of the airport, said that "leadership is often about running against the grain."
Newberry said he was confident that "corrective actions" have been taken to prevent a repeat of the scandal.
Newberry came out swinging in his final statement, criticizing both the woman he replaced and the man who wants to replace him.
Isaac's record "speaks for itself — the voters themselves cast judgment on that in 2006" when they overwhelmingly turned her out of office, Newberry said.
Newberry then said he had great admiration for Gray, but it turned out that what he admired was "the vice mayor's ability to grab headlines."
"But when you look at what he has done as a legislator ... there is not a substantial legislative initiative among his work," Newberry said.
Skip Horine, a technology manager who is the fourth candidate in the race, talked mostly about reducing the size of government.
But he shocked the audience and other candidates by alleging that bids are rigged for city purchases; that city building inspectors had pressured CentrePointe tenants in an effort to empty the block; and that a particular Lexington police officer had been videotaped going to the mailboxes of a commercial establishment, then tried to get an innocent bystander to break into the building.
He named the policeman and called for his resignation. He also said that his mother was murdered in 1997, but that the crime was never properly investigated.
The relatively small space in which the forum was held was crowded. Some of the nearly 100 people in the audience were watching the candidates, but some were merely listening while their eyes were glued to their laptops or smartphones as they spread tweets to the world.
The most surprising thing that didn't happen: Moderator Kakie Urch, a professor of multimedia in UK's School of Journalism and Telecommunications, tried near the end to get all four candidates to stand up and "do the John Wall dance."
No one moved.