Abortion, crime, and inflation dominate debates in four states on debate night. Tuesday evening was American debate night. Two weeks before Election Day, candidates in some of the nation’s most competitive races gathered on stage, with early and postal voting underway in many locations.
In the closely contested Pennsylvania Senate election, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican doctor and TV star Mehmet Oz met for their first and only debate during primetime. In Michigan, where Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is competing for reelection against Republican Tudor Dixon, the candidates for governor also met, as did the governor of New York and senator from Colorado.
In each discussion, candidates clashed over the economics, inflation, access to abortion rights, and American energy, even though the personalities varied from state to state. The key takeaways from Tuesday’s discussions are as follows:
John Fetterman vs. Mehmet Oz, PA Debate
Fetterman’s health is the sole topic of discussion. Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May, utilized live captioning as a reasonable accommodation during the discussion on Tuesday. The start of the debate informed spectators that the captioning system was visible to both contestants.
At the beginning of the discussion, Fetterman stated he might miss some words or mash two sentences together. On occasion, he did just that during the proceedings.
Later in the discussion, moderators asked Fetterman to commit to revealing his “whole medical records” in light of his campaign’s recent release of a letter from his physician stating he was fit to run for office. Instead of committing, the Democrat stated that the doctor felt he was fit to serve.
Oz’s campaign contends Fetterman is not healthy to serve as senator. He seldom mentioned his opponent’s physical condition on stage. During the discussion, moderators pressed Oz on the issue of abortion, to which he said it should be left to the states. Oz stated he did not want the federal government engaged in any of this. Oz wants women, physicians, and local political leaders — allowing the democracy that has historically allowed our nation to flourish to put out the greatest ideas so states may make their own decisions.
Moderators also grilled Fetterman on whether he favored fracking, noting comments he made against fracking in a 2018 interview and more recent statements indicating he supported it. “I do support fracking,” Fetterman stated after a brief pause when pressed on the subject. “I don’t — I support fracking.”
Oz also stated that he would support former President Donald Trump if he ran for president again in 2024 and that he wasn’t especially concerned with Trump’s legal woes. In response, Fetterman stated that he would support President Joe Biden if he ran for reelection.
If Fetterman can defeat Oz, it would significantly boost the Democrats’ chances of retaining the Senate majority. A victory in Pennsylvania would flip a Republican seat.
Gretchen Whitmer vs.Tudor Dixon, MI Debate
On Tuesday, the debate in Michigan began on a ballot initiative that would enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution. While a judicial battle over a 1931 state law prohibiting abortion is ongoing, the ballot initiative has garnered substantial attention in the state, and state courts are presently blocking this statute.
The governor is of the utmost importance, Whitmer added, blasting Dixon for supporting a near-total abortion ban. The freedom of reproductive choice is essential for women of all ages and backgrounds.
Dixon criticized the ballot initiative — and Whitmer — as radical, stating, When Governor Whitmer tells you this would be Roe, it is nothing like Roe. It would be the most extreme abortion law in the nation.
The majority of the second part of the discussion was on the economy, including inflation, energy expenses, different taxes, and education. Whitmer and Dixon disagreed on how to safeguard schools from gun violence, with Dixon advocating for armed protection and a single access point for schools, as well as an “office of safe schools.” in the state.
However, Whitmer pushed back, stating that more gun control measures are required and that Dixon’s policies have failed elsewhere.
She replied, Yesterday, a school shooting in Missouri in a district precisely like the one she described. And humans are deceased.
Kathy Hochul vs. Lee Zeldin, New York Debate
Almost the entirety of the opening fifteen minutes of the New York debate between Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin focused on crime – the very subject Zeldin has been harping on for months.
Zeldin constantly criticized Hochul for altering bail rules, saying, “I’m running to take back our streets.”
Hochul attempted to maintain her track record of strengthening gun prohibitions. Government is not about sound bites. Hochul stated she is governing based on sound policies. In response to Zeldin’s constant probing.
Last week’s polls indicated that Zeldin is within striking distance of the incumbent governor, as he has centered his campaign around the argument that Hochul has failed to combat violent crime in New York City.
Hochul, who has spent most of the campaign portraying Zeldin as an anti-abortion, pro-MAGA radical, has recently attempted to address New Yorkers’ worries about crime.
According to Zeldin, he would accept the results of the governor’s race if he lost but justified his vote in Congress against certifying the 2020 election. Since 2002, New York has been solidly Democratic, with the last Republican governor elected in 2002.
Michael Bennet vs. Joe O’Dea, CO Debate
In contrast to the rest of Tuesday’s debate programming, the Colorado Senate discussion between Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican Joe O’Dea lacked any pyrotechnics, with both candidates seeking to portray themselves as moderates.
We must band together. Put aside labels, politics, and political titles and solve issues, businessman O’Dea urged in his opening remarks. Meanwhile, O’Dea dubbed Bennet a “rubber stamp” for President Joe Biden.
Bennet refuted the criticism and later defended his nonpartisan credentials. Bennet stated that during his tenure in the Senate, he has not contributed to the toxic climate, he stated, citing a rafting trip with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
Earlier this year, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) campaigned to reform the permitting system, which both candidates supported. Bennett said sarcastically at one point that O’Dea was so enthusiastic about fossil fuels, while O’Dea retorted that he was passionate about energy.
Despite the organized speed of their exchanges, the stakes in Colorado’s Senate election are comparable to those of any other state. O’Dea is down in the polls, but Republican groups have thrown millions of dollars into both campaigns in recent weeks, hoping he may pull off an upset.
On Friday, Bennet and O’Dea are scheduled to engage in a second debate.