SHREVEPORT, LA (WAFB) - For the first time, three leading candidates running for the Louisiana Senate seat faced off in a debate at Centenary College in Shreveport. The debate was televised by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
Republican candidates Representative Bill Cassidy and Ret. Col. Rob Maness are challenging the democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu.
While the candidates started taking jabs at each other very early on, all stuck to their guns on a range of issues including federal spending, military support and student debt.
Some of the biggest divides came from points that all candidates have featured throughout their campaigning including healthcare and social security benefits.
On the topic of the Affordable Care Act, Cassidy and Maness both said that the ACA should be repealed. Cassidy went as far as to say that the ACA has been the source of much of the nation's economic troubles. Landrieu maintained that while the ACA is not perfect, it should stay.
"A copper plan could help make it a little bit more affordable, raise additional subsidies and also allow insurance agents to sell," said Landrieu.
"Consumers should be allowed to buy the insurance that fists their stage of life and their needs," countered Maness.
"As a position I oppose the ACA. I have found that when the patient has the power the system lines up to serve the patient," said Cassidy.
The tables flipped slightly on the issue of preserving social security benefits. Cassidy said increasing the age of eligibility would protect benefits. Meanwhile Maness and Landrieu disagreed and both stated that some jobs are too demanding to continue at age 70.
In the end, Landrieu continued to tout her experience as an advantage for voters, while Cassidy attacked the senate's democratic leadership and agenda. Maness simply called for fresh leadership all the way around.
Perhaps the most interesting question of the night came at the very end. Each candidate was asked to rank both Governor Bobby Jindal and President Barack Obama on a scale from one to ten.
Cassidy gave Jindal a seven and Obama a zero.
Maness gave Jindal a five and Obama a zero.
Landrieu gave Jindal a three and Obama a six to seven.