Dardenne and Nungesser square off in peaceful debate

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two polar opposites seeking the No. 2 job in Louisiana government took the stage Thursday night.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and challenger Billy Nungesser, the current president of Plaquemines Parish, debated before a packed house.

Many refer to the race as heated, with each side attacking the other in television ads. The pair addressed that very topic.

"I've got five commercials, three positive, two state the record," Nungesser said. "Every commercial, I've done has got the Senate bill under it where he voted. It is what it is. You can't distort that."

However, Dardenne said there is plenty of distortion going on.

"It's unfortunate it's taken a negative turn, really, from the get-go," Dardenne explained. "And, I think that's what challengers have to do when they're trying to unseat somebody is trying to, really what happened, misrepresent facts about my record, about who I am. And, that's very unfortunate. I want to talk about the issues in the race. I want to talk about the job I've done as lieutenant governor."

Another big topic of the night was money, especially how tourism dollars are being spent.

"We need to take a better look at the way we're spending our money. And, the jobs you've continued to say you've cut were actually cut by Scott Angelle. And, the BP money should not be spent around the state," Nungesser stated.

He added it should be spent to boost the Gulf as a whole.

The candidates were asked by the moderator to say positive things about each other.

"I give him credit. He's done a great job at public speaking, at putting all the right words in the right place. But, we need change in Baton Rouge and that's why I'm running," Nungesser said.

"Billy has done an excellent job of advocating on behalf of the people of Plaquemines Parish at a time when they were in need. I hope he stays there in that position as parish president," Dardenne added.

That final comment drew a small roar of laughter from the crowd.

The event was sponsored by the Baton Rouge Tea Party and featured several other races. Arguing was not allowed.

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