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Battle for the 50th

Senator John A. DeFrancisco has had to fight to keep his 50th District Senate seat before, but opponent Kathleen Joy is offering something different for the 2010 election: "A new perspective."

Joy, an at-large city common councilor since 2005, announced she'd run against DeFrancisco in May. The "New Perspective" platform she hopes will help her unseat the nine-term Republican senator emphasizes public service over politicking.

"When you lose your focus and it becomes about power politics -- real politics with a capital P -- you lose focus on the people," Joy said.

The approach

But DeFrancisco believes voters need a leader with more than a willingness to study issues.

"She's working hard and she's trying to get a message out... I'm not quite sure what that message is," he said.

The incumbent, who earned the nickname "pit bull," for his straightforward style, criticized Joy for what he saw as an unwillingness to commit to a solution.

"The fact of the matter is, there's no position stated," DeFrancisco said. "If I'm the average voter, I'd rather have someone advocating for my position, as opposed to just getting along with everyone whether a different philosophy or not and then voting against the philosophy."

But Joy said she has had experience with conflict on the common council, and prefers to seek a compromise rather than a "my way or the highway" attitude.

"When you start with what you have in common, what's the end goal and how can we get the job done -- that's an approach that works," Joy said.

The biggest challenges

Lowering axes, cutting spending, creating jobs: the issues aren't new, but both candidates agree they are among the biggest challenges the state faces going forward.

While their positions align on several key issues, it may come down to which personality voters are more comfortable with: DeFrancisco's aggressive style or Joy's one-on-one public service approach.

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