Driven by intense voter interest in the topic, the almost-certain promise of media coverage and the opportunity to upstage incumbent Democrats, GOP candidates in state after state are holding their own health care town halls — and reveling in the subsequent publicity bonanza.

The health care events are proving to be a boon for those seeking to oust incumbents, delivering the most precious of political commodities — voter attention and local press coverage…

The challenger town halls serve another important purpose by offering candidates the chance to fill the void left by incumbent Democrats who have opted against holding large-scale, in-person town halls out of fear of raucous crowds or out of a desire to talk to constituents in smaller or more controlled settings…

If nothing else, the counter-town halls have succeeded in one important way — they’ve been effective in fostering the impression that some Democratic incumbents are reluctant to meet with the public.