It's a race that both parties have invested nearly $3 million in. The candidates of the 7th congressional district faced each other in their first debate Monday night, spending much of the evening attacking their opponents' job creation efforts.
"In the House, I voted for 30 or more jobs bills that looked to the private sector to create jobs," said Republican incumbent Rep. Sean Duffy.
"No they weren't, they were 30 more bills that would cut taxes at the top, not the thing that's going to add jobs," said Democratic challenger Pat Kreitlow, a former state senator.
Speaking to a crowd of around 200 at UW-Marathon County, Kreitlow and Duffy disagreed on each other's records and their plans to stimulate the local economy.
"The only place he's really fought regulations, have been the regulations of Wall St. banks," Kreitlow said. "As a result, he's collected nearly 3/4 of a million dollars from special interest from banks, credit card companies and oil companies and he's not working for us."
"Here today he comes here and says I only want to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. But he has a clear and concise record as a senator where he voted for the largest tax increase in Wisconsin's history," Duffy said. "And it wasn't on millionaires and billionaires, it was on every hard working middle class family in the 7th district."
Moving on to healthcare, Duffy defended his position that something must be done to protect it before it goes broke, while Kreitlow criticized Duffy's support of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget proposal that would replace Medicare for people 54 and younger with a voucher system.
"We'll give you an option. You can take traditional medicare, or you can pick premium support, where you get support from the government, where you can pick a plan that works for you," Duffy said. "Sen. Kreitlow supports a plan that will quote save money in Medicare, and they do that by cutting payments to doctors, hospitals and clinics."
"It takes a lot of brass to criticize somebody for something you voted for," Kreitlow said. "It was Congressman Duffy who voted for the budget that included that same $18 billion in savings. He went on to do essentially the ending of Medicare as we know by turning it into coupon program."
Among the other heated topics in Monday's debate, abortion, the presidential election and the Farm Bill.
This is will be first election with the new redistricting, which now makes the district lean more Republican.
The two candidates will debate again on Nov. 1 at UW-Superior.
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