VIDEO: Indiana Senate Candidates Lob Criticisms In First Debate
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – The jabs came early and often in the debate between Indiana’s candidates for U.S. Senate Tuesday night.
Democratic former Senator Evan Bayh, Republican 9th District Congressman Todd Young, and Libertarian Lucy Brenton squared off in the statewide-televised debate hosted at WFYI-TV’s studios in Indianapolis.
The three Senate candidates are campaigning to replace retiring Republican Senator Dan Coats in a race that is being billed as one that could tip the party control balance in the Senate from Republicans to Democrats.
Bayh and Young traded barbs, attempting to paint one another as Washington insiders not acting in the best interest of Hoosiers. The Affordable Care Act, which Bayh voted for in his previous stint in the Senate, was a particular talking point.
“Obamacare never needed to be passed. Hoosiers pleaded with Evan Bayh to vote against Obamacare, but he ignored their wishes. He instead decided as a D.C. insider to listen to political interests in Washington, D.C. He instead listened to his party bosses,” Young said.
Bayh, who jumped into the race in July, countered that Young wants to repeal the healthcare law, taking the nation back to the days of insurance companies having unlimited profits.
“He wants to take 350,000 of our fellow Hoosiers’ health insurance away from them. He wants to reopen the donut hole costing our seniors more than $1,400 a year in additional prescription drug costs. We don’t want to go back to those days and I’ll fight to make sure that we don’t,” said Bayh.
Indiana U.S. Senate candidates (left to right) Libertarian Lucy Brenton, Democrat Evan Bayh, and Republican Todd Young debated Tuesday, October 18. Photo by Michael Conroy, The Associated Press.
On the issue of trade, the relocation of jobs from Carrier’s plant in Indianapolis to Mexico was an example each candidate cited.
“What also has to stop is the tax deduction for companies like Carrier that ship our jobs overseas. It’s not right. I met with those workers recently… They are losing everything. How does Congressman Young explain that he wants to keep that tax break for shipping their jobs to Mexico at a time when they are trying to make ends meet,” Bayh said.
Young went to the well of raising questions about Bayh’s residency and calling him a “creature of Washington.”
“Perhaps he heard it from the D.C. insiders who he befriends, his neighbors in D.C. where he lives. Perhaps his clients, now his lobbying clients, they were the people who prevailed upon him when he was a United States senator and encouraged him to unleash a flood of outsourcing to China,” Young responded.
Brenton, a mother of seven who is not at all likely to win the election but whose presence may impact the outcome, chided both Bayh and Young.
“You’ve both spent time in Washington D.C. So much time in fact that I’m afraid it’s turned you to the dark side,” Brenton said. “The only thing I can say to the American people and to Hoosiers: these are not the senators you are looking for.”
Toward the end of the debate, Brenton stepped away from her podium, saying she didn’t want to get the “mud” being thrown between the Democrat and Republican candidates on her white suit.
The Indiana Debate Commission has been negotiating with the campaigns to organize a second debate with the Senate candidates, but no decision has been announced as of Wednesday.