2 candidates square off in first Louisiana Senate debate

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NEW ORLEANS— Two candidates in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race met Thursday night in their first televised debate.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, one of her Republican opponents, debated at the Georges Auditorium at Dillard University in New Orleans which was taped for airing Friday night on WDSU TV.

Landrieu and Maness tackled issues of federal minimum wage, campaign finance and border security.

“The bill that I voted for — and I’m proud to have voted for — adds 40,000 guards for our border,” Landrieu said.

“The agents in Louisiana tell me there are 45,000 illegal aliens here taking jobs from people wanting entry level jobs in this state,” Maness said in a rebuttal.

The differences between the candidates are vast. Landrieu is a three-term incumbent who sits on powerful Senate committees. She believes this election is about the person who can deliver for Louisiana.

Maness is a political newcomer who has never run for office. He said the country is suffering from the lack of leadership and career politicians who don’t follow the Constitution.

Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy is the Landrieu’s major opponent for the senate seat in the Nov. 4 open primary. He declined to participate in the debate.

The most lively exchange came on the issue of the Affordable Care Act.

“Obamacare is an abomination,” Maness said. “I’m going to make it one of my top priorities not just to repeal and defund it, but pull it out by the roots because it’s a job killer,” he said.

“We hear this all day long and it’s so sad because they don’t provide any alternative to provide health care,” Landrieu said. “For people that work 40-50 hours a week. They deserve health care they can never lose,” she said.

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