The May 17 debate, televised by KNME, was sponsored by the Chaves Count Republican Women and the Chaves County Republican County.
Early on, there was some interesting squabbling over debate format, with U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, an Albuquerque Republican, pushing for rebuttal time. Fellow U.S. Rep. Pearce, on the other hand, a Hobbs Republican, seemed content to stick with whatever prevented Wilson from rebutting his most recent charge.
“Could you explain the rules?” Wilson asked at one point with an edge to her voice. “They seem to have changed.”
The debate featured a surprising about of disgreement between the two Republican Senate hopefuls. Wilson chided Pearce for recently voting against the so-called Farm Bill, saying that bill would harm the state’s dairy industry.
Pearce, not to be outdone, pressed charges of his own. Among them, he said Wilson had broken a no-new-taxes pledge (a charge she denied), that she opposed the troop surge in Iraq, and that she supproted “drivers’ licenses for illegals.”
Wilson’s response: “We shoudln’t have drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens,” adding, however, that she does not favor a national ID card.
There were more sharp exchanges, like Peacre’s responce to a question about high gas prices. “We must drill,” he said. Wilson, on the other hand, said she supported a “balanced energy policy,” that includes both increased production and conservation.
One issue on which both candidte’s agreed: they both support the USA Patriot Act.
And all that happened during the first half of the debate!
The AP’s Heather Clark wrote this dispatch follwing the debate, including the thoughts of a couple Republican voters who are beginning to make of their minds, in addition to each candidate’s own electibility argument.
In case you missed it this past weekend, watch the debate here.
The debate is split up over two parts. The above video is the first half; the second half is below.
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